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22nd Feb 2020

Old EU states risk failing Kyoto targets

Most of the EU's 15 old member states will have a hard time reaching their 2012 Kyoto targets - designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions and global warming - new projections say.

The European Environment Agency on Friday (27 October) came out with its annual projection of CO2 emissions in the European bloc.

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  • EU member states need to implement the bloc's environmental policies to reach their Kyoto target (Photo: Notat)

"Today's projection...shows that emissions trends are not as positive as we might wish them to be," EU commission spokeswoman Barbara Helfferich told reporters in Brussels.

Brussels still believes the EU can meet its target if all planned measures and legislation are put into place, but the spokeswoman added that "we need to make a major effort if we want to reach those targets."

The so-called EU-15 countries have committed to reducing total emissions of greenhouse gases to 8 percent below their level in 1990 in the period between 2008 and 2012.

The new EU countries which became members in 2004 are not subject to the collective emissions targets under the Kyoto Protocol, which was set down in 1997.

But eight of the ten new member states - the EU-10 - have individual targets to cut their emissions to 6 or 8 percent below 1990 levels.

Cyprus and Malta have no targets at all, while all those with targets project that they will meet them.

Seven EU countries will miss targets

Sweden and the UK plan to meet their emissions reduction scheme with the help of already existing domestic policies and may even over-deliver, according to the Copenhagen-based agency.

Six of the old member states - Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg and the Netherlands - aim to meet their targets with a combination of additional policies and measures.

But seven countries - Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain - project they will miss their target despite currently planned additional domestic policies and measures.

"Those that are not on track urgently need to step up efforts to meet their targets, if necessary by taking further national measures to reduce emissions," EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas said in a statement.

"These projections show there is no room for complacency or error...all member states must pull their weight to ensure that we deliver on our collective commitment," he added.

The full 25-nation bloc could achieve a cut of 10.8 percent in their emissions in 2010 if they carry out the action plans they have promised, the commission said.

Without the planned action, cuts are likely to reach only 4.6 percent, it added.

Brussels examines post-Kyoto options

The European Commission is looking into ways to continue cutting greenhouse gasses post-Kyoto by improving the bloc's main tool in the fight against climate change - the EU emissions trading scheme.

EU and US could unite on post-Kyoto treaty, says Al Gore

US ex-vice president Al Gore has said he understands Europe's frustration over his country's reluctance to ratify the Kyoto protocol on climate change - but insisted that both superpowers could still unite over the issue as support for green goals is rising across the US.

Brussels to take legal action against EU states on lack of CO2 plans

Brussels is set to take legal action against nine EU member states for having failed to present the European Commission with plans on how they will cut their greenhouse gasses between 2008 and 2012 – an important part of the EU strategy to reach its Kyoto commitments.

EU falls behind on green targets

New figures released on Thursday have revealed that the EU is falling far short of reaching its emissions targets under the international climate change treaty, the Kyoto Protocol.

State aid on roads harms EU climate battle

EU member state road transport subsidies hamper the bloc's Kyoto efforts to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, the European Environment Agency says in a new report launched on Monday.

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