EU-15 countries cut greenhouse gases by 1.3 percent

by Stephen Hurrell. Published Tue 01 Sep 2009 14:53, Last updated: 2009-09-01
Eu countries have cut emissions in 2008

The 15 countries in the EU before expansion cut emissions by 1.3 percent in 2008, new figures released today reveal.

Countries such as the UK, France and Germany have successfully reduced emissions by 6.2 percent overall despite many environmental groups saying plans such as the UK Low Carbon Plan are not doing enough to tackle emissions targets.

Meanwhile, the countries who joined the EU after 2004 saw emissions fall by 1.5 percent, meaning a total fall of 13.6 percent since 1990.

The figures are estimates supplied by the European Environment Agency on behalf of the European Commission.

Speaking after the release of the figures, EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said the results show a significant step towards meeting the Kyoto Protocol emissions targets.

He said: "These provisional figures are a further confirmation that the EU is well on track to reach its Kyoto target, even if one should recognise that part of the reduction in emissions is due to the economic slowdown. This trend needs to be further consolidated in the coming years.

“The EU has already shown that it can successfully decouple its emissions from economic growth. The swift implementation of the EU climate and energy package should give a new impetus to this trend. This is a timely message to the rest of the world in the run up to the Copenhagen climate conference in December."

This is the first time the European Environment Agency has released figures showing greenhouse gas emissions year on year.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, the EU-15 has a common commitment to reduce emissions on average by eight percent between 2008 and 2015 compared to emissions in the 'base year' – usually 1990.

The 2008 emission estimates will be used to better track progress towards EU targets in the annual European Environment Agency report on greenhouse gas emission trends and projections in Europe, which will be published later this year.

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