EU greenhouse gas emissions reported

Official statistics show 2% drop from 1990 to 1998 masking CO2 increases since 1994

Official EU data on greenhouse gas emissions to 1998 have revealed an overall 2% fall in emissions of the six Kyoto protocol gases from the base year of 1990 to 1998.

The figures show that carbon dioxide (CO2) emission increases since 1994 would have pushed the overall trend upwards but for relatively large falls in the early 1990s. In addition, most of the overall emission cut was achieved just in Germany and the UK, with levels in other countries increasing.

A sustained 16% drop in emissions of methane helped to keep the overall trend downwards, cutting its contribution to the EU's global warming impact from 11.2% to 9.5% over the period. Emissions of nitrous oxide, the other main greenhouse gas, fell sharply to about 1993, rose again to 1997 but then plunged once more in 1998 to a level nearly 10% below that in 1990. Reduction measures by industry were mainly responsible for this, according to the report.

The 1998 figures put the EU on course to achieve the non-binding goal of stabilisation of greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by 2000. But CO2 emissions once more exceeded 1990 levels in 1998, suggesting the EU will face a much tougher task in achieving its legally binding Kyoto target of an 8% reduction from 1990 emissions by the average of 2008-2012.

Follow Up:
European Environment Agency, tel: +45 33 36 71 00, and EU greenhouse gas inventory 1990-1998.

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