15 EU countries on track to meet Kyoto targets

The AP reports:

The European Union’s 15 original member nations are on target to meet Kyoto treaty commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the bloc’s environment agency said Thursday.

The countries pledged by 2012 to reduce by 8 percent their emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases thought to contribute to global warming.

A few laggards aren’t going to meet their targets but the cuts from the European climate leaders more than compensate:

Only three countries — Denmark, Italy and Spain — were “off their Kyoto track” and unlikely to meet individual targets, the European Environment Agency said.

But their shortfalls would be made up by Britain, Germany and Sweden, which were expected to show “outstanding performance,” according to agency’s executive director, Jacqueline McGlade.

The 15 were the only nations in the European Union in 1997, when it joined the Kyoto Protocol under an “EU burden-sharing agreement.” The 12 nations that have since joined the bloc are not obliged to help meet its Kyoto targets.

The European Environment Agency released a report Thursday detailing each of the 15 nations’ progress on cutting greenhouse gases, as well as an estimate of what Europe’s long-term situation with emissions might be.

It said that while EU emissions were projected to decrease through 2020 — meeting its 20-percent reduction target compared with 1990 levels — the bloc was still far from implementing other measures, including a European Commission proposal that the bloc derives 20 percent of its energy from renewable supplies by 2020.

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16 Responses to 15 EU countries on track to meet Kyoto targets

  1. paulm says:

    Don’t believe it.

  2. Matt says:

    With Spain and Italy’s investments in solar, do you expect them to reach their goals shortly?

  3. john says:

    The deniers have long held that the EU wouldn’t/couldn’t meet their targets –and they forecast financial disaster if they did.

    Well, now they are, and while financial disaster is in the air, it’s from the failed Republican policies of uber lasisez-faire economics, not climate policy and it’s worse here — where we’ve ignored climate change than in the EU — where they’ve acted on it.

    Denial continues to be the only tool in the deniers toolbox, however.

    Paulm, what do you mean, “Don’t believe it?”

    Why on Earth not? Because it doesn’t fit your narrative?

    Look, at some point, we have to look at the facts and acknowledge that reality trumps ideology.

    Emissions are what they are; not what you wish they were; not what would be convenient for your orthodoxy.

  4. Rick says:

    This story isn’t over yet. Britain is the great success, but now they have major grid worries and coal seems to be the answer at least from some corners. Lets see if they are able to keep this thing going on wind power.

    What really could be done for Europe would be massive solar projects on the Sahara with the next generation DC long range transmission. I don’t think anyone is so ambitious to abandon coal just yet though.

  5. How great that the AP is finally admitting this great and obvious fact.

    I can’t tell you how many deniers have built their entire argument against doing anything here , on the idea that it didn’t work in the EU, despite all the evidence.

    I seem to remember arguing with some idiot at the WSJ environment blog about this

  6. David Wojick says:

    The target is not 8% by 2012, it is 8% for the period 2008-2012. They are not there.

  7. Modesty says:

    “The target is not 8% by 2012, it is 8% for the period 2008-2012.”

    What exactly do you mean and why do you believe that?

  8. David says:

    “The countries pledged by 2012 to reduce by 8 percent their emissions of carbon dioxide …”

    How much of this reduction was:

    1. Actual reduction.
    2. Met by offset projects in other countries.
    3. Not reductions at all, but just relocating the emissions to other countries.

  9. Joe says:

    David — Great question. I will provide the answer within a day or two!

  10. alex says:

    Reason: EU population is flat/declining. US population is growing.

    If you support the Democrats you should be making much more of the fact that McCain and Palin have 12 children between them! Or is it politically incorrect to comment on such things?

  11. Modesty says:

    To answer my own question:

    Under the Kyoto Protocol, the EU‑15 must reach an
    average annual level of greenhouse gas emissions
    8 % lower than in the base year,
    during the whole period 2008–2012.

    While I look forward to Joe’s report, some of David’s questions may find preliminary answers in:

    re relocating, ie carbon leakage:

  12. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:


    To meet this target requires a reliance on what you (accurately) call “rip-offsets” in the form of the CDM and other mechanisms.

    If you read the report the EU-15 is -2.7% (2006) from its 1990 baseline and towards its goal of -8.0%. The EU cannot get another -5.3% without some accounting tricks and rosy assumptions for the next 18 (!) months. See Figure ES.1 here and corresponding discussion:

    [JR: Roger, that is not how they describe it and that is not how I would describe it.]

  13. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    That is funny Joe, because in this post . . .

    . . . you favorably cited a Stanford study that concluded:

    ” … “between a third and two thirds” of emission offsets under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) — set up under the Kyoto treaty to encourage emissions reductions in developing nations — do not represent actual emission cuts. ”

    To which you said, “Talk about your sub-sub-sub-prime loans.”

    I agree with you.

    However, the EEA report mentioned in the AP study identifies such offsets as central to the ability of the EU-15 to meet its goals. That report states:

    “The use of Kyoto mechanisms (clean development mechanism and joint implementation), currently planned by ten countries, would help to reduce emissions by a further 3.0 %.”

    Other offsets account for an additional 1.4% of the reduction. And if you dig deeper, you’ll find some other surprises in the EU data as well.

    [JR: Nothing funny about this. I hardly think that filling a gap of 1% with trees or CDM makes offsets “central to the ability of the EU-15 to meet its goals.” I discuss this issue at length in a new post here.]

  14. paulm says:

    “On a per capita basis, Britain is responsible for more of the carbon dioxide now in the atmosphere than any other nation on Earth because it has been burning it from the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. America comes second and Germany third. “