Sunday

22nd May 2022

Spain and Netherlands among countries to buy way to green targets

  • Journalists covering the climate conference in Kyoto, December 1997. (Photo: UN Photo/Frank Leather)

Up to nine EU countries may buy their way to achieving targets set under an international climate change treaty, with around €2.5 billion to be spent on purchasing emission-reduction credits from other countries.

The Kyoto Protocol, adopted in 1997, set binding reduction targets for 37 industrialised countries, to be achieved in the period 2008 to 2012.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has assessed the achievements of its 33 members: the 28 EU nations, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey.

Of those countries, 30 had a country-specific Kyoto target. The agency expects the vast majority to achieve their targets, but some of them will actually pay to do so.

According to a report from the European Environment Agency, published on Tuesday (28 October), nine of the 15 back in 1997 plan to buy or have bought carbon credits to deliver on their commitments.

If a country is unable to achieve a reduction in greenhouse gases by improving the efficiency of energy use or increasing the share of energy sources that do not emit these gases, it can pay its way out.

A country can buy credits from other countries that are over-achieving or invest in emission-reducing projects abroad although Green NGOs say these are “often dubious”.

"Those projects have very often delivered questionable results in terms of emission cuts, and on top of that they don't help the green technology development in Europe", said Joris den Blanken from Greenpeace.

According to the EEA report, 12 European countries have announced they have "allocated financial resources" for credit buying, although it adds that Ireland and Portugal probably will not need to.

The countries are EU members Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain; and non-EU members Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

The total declared financial resources add up to €2,523 million. The largest announced financial contribution comes from Austria, which expects to spend €611 million.

The Netherlands and Spain are expected to spend €446 and €400 million respectively.

Italy is lagging behind however and “still not on track towards its burden-sharing target under EU law”.

Most eastern European countries, by contrast, over-achieved on reducing actual greenhouse gas reduction, largely as a result of the closure of many large emission-spouting plants in the 1990s.

Whether or not a country has achieved its targets for the 2008-2012 will be determined by an international review – but this is a process that could last until 2016.

On the same day as the report on the Kyoto targets, the European Environment Agency published a report on noting that the EU is making “good progress” on its goals of a 20 percent reduction of greenhouse gas, a 20 percent share of renewable energy sources and 20 percent more efficient energy use by 2020.

Last week EU leader agreed a 40 percent reduction target for 2030.

Commission grilled on RePowerEU €210bn pricetag

EU leaders unveiled a €210bn strategy aiming to cut Russian gas out of the European energy equation before 2027 and by two-thirds before the end of the year — but questions remain on how it is to be financed.

MEPs raise ambition on EU carbon market reform

MEPs on the environment committee agreed on reform of the European carbon market — including expanding it to buildings and transport. They also want to extend the scope of the carbon border tax, and phase out free permits by 2030.

EU countries rush to expand gas import capacity

EU plans to quit Russian gas and replace it, in part, by importing overseas liquified natural gas has lead to a flurry of new gas projects — which threaten to lock in unnecessary gas use for decades.

Commission grilled on RePowerEU €210bn pricetag

EU leaders unveiled a €210bn strategy aiming to cut Russian gas out of the European energy equation before 2027 and by two-thirds before the end of the year — but questions remain on how it is to be financed.

News in Brief

  1. UK to send 'hundreds' of migrants to Rwanda each year
  2. Norwegian knife attacks were domestic dispute
  3. Sweden hits back at Turkey's 'disinformation' in Nato bid
  4. Germany's Schröder gives up one of two Russia jobs
  5. G7 countries pledge €18bn in financial aid for Ukraine
  6. Italian unions strike in protest over military aid for Ukraine
  7. Russia cuts gas supply to Finland
  8. Half of Gazprom's clients have opened rouble accounts

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. What Europe still needs to do to save its bees
  2. Remembering Falcone: How Italy almost became a narco-state
  3. Economic worries and Hungary on the spot Next WEEK
  4. MEPs urge sanctioning the likes of ex-chancellor Schröder
  5. MEPs call for a more forceful EU response to Kremlin gas cut
  6. Catalan leader slams Pegasus use: 'Perhaps I'm still spied on'
  7. More EU teams needed to prosecute Ukraine war crimes
  8. French EU presidency struggling on asylum reforms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us