EU climate gas emissions down in 1999

Agency warns of potential loss of momentum as Anglo-German emissions reduction engine stutters

EU emissions of the six greenhouse gases controlled under the UN Kyoto protocol were 4% lower in 1999 than in the treaty's base year of 1990, the European Environment Agency (EEA) reported today. While welcoming this "positive trend," the agency warned that the free lunch offered to most EU countries by strong Anglo-German performance in cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) could be about to end.

1999 was a good year for greenhouse gas emissions cuts, with total EU output down two percentage points on 1998 (ENDS Daily 28 November 2000). The result is that the bloc is just in advance of a linear trend needed to reach its committed target of an 8% cut from 1990 levels by the period 2008-12, a situation enjoyed by no other industrialised countries.

Despite this progress, however, the EEA warns that the prospects for hitting the 2008-12 target remain uncertain because the large emission cuts achieved so far by Germany and the UK could be at an end. According to preliminary estimates, British CO2 emissions rose by 2% in 2000, it notes, while Germany's energy-related CO2 emissions rose by 0.2% (ENDS Daily 27 February). Meanwhile over half of EU countries are far from on track to meet their emission commitments (see table below).

  -----------------------------------------
1999 greenhouse gas emissions and targets
              98-99      90-99    targets
-----------------------------------------
Austria        0.0%      +2.6%     -13%
Belgium       -3.4%      +2.8%      -7.5%
Denmark       -4.6%      -4.6%     -21%
Finland       -0.8%      -1.1%       0%
France        -2.2%      -0.2%       0%
Germany       -3.7%     -18.7%     -21%
Greece        -0.7%     +16.9%     +25%
Ireland       +2.5%     +22.1%     +13%
Italy         +0.9%      +4.4%      -6.5%
Luxembourg    +4.6%     -43.3%     -28%
Netherlands   -2.9%      +6.1%      -6%
Portugal      +2.9%     +22.4%     +27%
Spain         +6.1%     +23.2%     +15%
Sweden        -2.6%      +1.5%      +4%
UK            -6.5%     -14.0%     -12.5%
EU TOTAL      -2.0%      -4.0%      -8%
-----------------------------------------
Source:  EEA
------------------------------------------    

Follow Up:
EEA, tel: +45 33 36 71 00, press release and report.

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