22 December 2004 – In its latest report on greenhouse gas emissions trends, the European Environment Agency (EFA) remains surprisingly optimistic about the chances of the EU reaching its 8 per cent reduction target, even though real 2002 figures published in July only indicate an achieved 2.9 per cent reduction below base-year level.
The EEA report “Greenhouse gas emission trends and projections in Europe 2004” projects that the EU might be on track to reach its Kyoto greenhouse gas reduction commitment (-8 per cent by 2010 compared to the 1990 baseline). But the Copenhagen agency underlines that this will only happen provided all Member States implement all existing and planned policies and measures.
The projections show that Denmark, Italy, Portugal, Spain and, to a small extent, Germany will exceed their emission targets (as defined in the EU’s ‘burden sharing agreement’) and that therefore other EU countries will have to ‘over-deliver’. Without this overdelivery, the projected reduction will only be 6.5 per cent.
The EEA’s projections seem quite optimistic when compared to the real emissions figures until 2002. In a report in July 2004, the EEA stated that the EU-15 had only reduced its emissions by 2.9 per cent below 1990 levels. Although emissions decreased in most economic sectors in the period from 1990 up to 2002, the transport sector (esp. road transport) saw an emissions increase of 22 per cent.
To reach its objectives, the Member States will have to implement all measures planned. The EEA report shows that existing domestic policies will only reduce emissions by 1 per cent compared to 1990. If all additional planned measures are well implemented, the reduction would increase to 7.7 cent. If some Member States also implement their Kyoto ‘flexible mechanism’ plans (using reductions in non-EU countries as compensation for not doing more reductions at national level), the projected reduction could reach 8.8 per cent.