EU countries "not on track" for Kyoto

Consultancy report underlines need for further policies to avoid emissions overshoot

Several EU member states will fail to limit greenhouse gas emissions in line with their commitments under the Kyoto protocol without new measures, according to a survey of six countries presented in Brussels today by environmental group WWF. Prepared by consultancies Ecofys of the Netherlands and Germany's Fraunhofer Institute, the report recommends areas for new policies and measures for each country.

The idea that many EU countries could miss their targets is not new. The European Commission reported this spring that 13 out of 15 member states were not on track (ENDS Daily 8 March). In June, US charity the Pew Centre reviewed progress in the UK, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Spain, and concluded that only the UK was likely to meet its target (ENDS Daily 22 June).

Covering the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, France and Sweden, the Ecofys and Fraunhofer study makes more detailed assessments of likely trends but comes to similar conclusions. The UK is likely to meet its targets, while the other five countries could miss them by large margins, they report.

The report reviews actions taken before the Kyoto protocol to define a reference scenario, and then makes further estimates based on policies introduced since 1997. It acknowledges that all six countries have additional measures under preparation, the implications of which are not included.

Of the countries surveyed, France and the Netherlands are most at risk of missing their targets, the study concludes. Without further measures, both could see 2010 emissions up to 20 percentage points higher than their commitments, which are stabilisation in the case of France and -6% for the Netherlands. Sweden could overshoot its +4% target by up to 11 percentage points, Spain its +15% target by up to 5 percentage points and Germany its -21% target by up to 4 percentage points.

Based on an assessment of national policies and remaining potential for cutting emissions in key economic sectors, the consultancies recommend where the six countries should look to achieve further cuts. For France, the top ones are renewable energy, buildings, transport and energy taxes; for Germany they are buildings and transport; for the Netherlands it is transport; for Spain they are industrial energy efficiency, electricity production, buildings, transport, non-carbon dioxide gases and energy taxes; for Sweden it is transport and for the UK, buildings and transport.

Follow Up:
WWF European Policy Office, tel: +32 2 743 8800, a press release, and a summary of the report.

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