The European Union has cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 19.2% compared to 1990 levels – a new record – according to a report submitted to the United Nations (UN).
In its annual greenhouse emission report, the European Environment Agency (EEA) registered a continued fall in emissions.
A decrease of 1,082 megatons (Mt) since 1990 has put the EU on track to reaching its 2020 target, through domestic policy alone.
According to the EEA website, these reductions are down to “growing proportions of renewable energy and reductions in transport and industry.”
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Italy alone accounted for 45% of the total EU net reduction in emissions in 2012, largely down to transport and industry emission restrictions.
Poland, due to a substantial decrease in its consumption of solid fuels like coal, came second after Italy while in the UK and Germany emissions grew in 2012 because of the increased use of solid fuels.
The first 15 EU member states are also joint signatories of the Kyoto Protocol which promotes a collective target of 8% emission reductions over the period 2008-2012. The group managed 11.8%, however, excluding ‘sinks’ or ‘credits’ from the Kyoto Protocol’s flexible mechanisms.
The European commission recently set out its future energy strategy, prioritising the extraction of shale gas.
Hans Bruyninckx, EEA executive director said, “The EU has demonstrated that there is no conflict between a growing economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Policies have been at the heart of this success. We need to go even further, but this will depend on countries implementing policies which already map a path towards a low carbon, energy secure society.”
Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth’s international climate campaigner Asad Rehman said, “The fact that the EU has almost met its greenhouse gas reduction goal seven years early simply highlights how inadequate this target was.
“The EU must do its fair share of the global effort by coming up with much tougher, binding targets for its 2030 climate and energy package – not only on polluting gases, but on energy efficiency and renewable power, too.”
Photo: Graeme Maclean via Flickr