EU set to meet Kyoto emission reduction targets

Ahead of next month's UN climate talks, the EU is on course to meet carbon emission reduction targets. Gerald Callaghan reports

By Gerald Callaghan

15 May 2014

The European Union is set to meet and surpass its carbon emission reduction target as agreed in Kyoto.

Under the UN Kyoto protocol on climate change, the EU agreed to aim to reduce its carbon emissions levels by 20 per cent compared to 1990 levels before 2020.

Adopted on 11 December 1997, the Kyoto protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005, and was viewed as the first important step towards reducing and stabilising global greenhouse gas emissions.

"Europe will be overachieving in 2020," said Hans Bruyninckx, executive director of the European environment agency as he presented their findings to ministers and European commission officials in Athens.

The meeting was scheduled ahead of next month's reopening of UN climate talks in Bonn, when those countries with Kyoto targets agreed to review their commitments under the pact.

The EU is already close to meeting that target and now expects to beat it easily by 2020. In a document submitted, as requested by the UN, on the 30 April this year, the EU stated that the bloc "will over-achieve their reduction targets for the first commitment period and are projected to over-achieve their targets for the second commitment period".

It continued, "Preliminary data show that average annual emissions over the period 2008-2012 are 18.8 per cent below base year levels. For the year 2020, total emissions are projected to be 24.5 per cent below [1990] levels."

"Without targets and new policies there is no guarantee that circumstances won't change and emissions rise back up" - Wendel Trio

However, EU member states are currently divided over how to meet a more ambitious European commission proposal to reduce carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2030.

The news was welcomed by environmental campaigners, but Wendel Trio of Green group coalition Climate action network Europe warned against complacency, saying, "Without targets and new policies there is no guarantee that circumstances won't change and emissions rise back up".

The EU has pledged to agree on the 2030 targets and measures by October of this year.

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