The European Commission today published its annual report on the European Union's progress towards meeting its Kyoto Protocol target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the European Environment Agency (EEA) published its latest analysis of greenhouse gas trends in the EU.
The 2011 emissions are consistent with the decreasing trend observed since 2004. Despite a 48% GDP increase since 1990, greenhouse gas emissions in the EU-27 have decreased by 18%. The EU-15 and the 10 Member States that have individual commitments are on track to achieve their 2008-2012 emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, said: "The EU is delivering on its Kyoto commitment. While our economy grew 48 per cent since 1990, emissions are down 18%. These figures prove once again that emissions can be cut without sacrificing the economy. Now, it is important to keep the direction. Reaching the 20% target in 2020 does not come automatically. It calls for continued efforts. Furthermore, through new initiatives and legislation, like the Energy Efficiency Directive, the EU is on track to reduce more than the 20%."
From 2013 onwards, the EU will have annual emission limitation targets in line with a 20% greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2020 compared to 1990.
Last year's international climate talks in Durban launched negotiations for a post 2020 UN legal framework including all countries, to be completed by 2015 and enter in force by 2020. As part of the transition towards the new agreement, Durban also decided that a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol will run from January 2013, and the EU announced that it would commit to this second period. Durban also agreed to address the mitigation gap that remains to be filled before 2020 in order to limit global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures.