Europe's big hitters on target for Kyoto

Taken as a group, the countries which form Europe's old guard look set to meet their 2012 Kyoto targets, despite shaky performances from some individual member states.

forests are widely used as carbon sinks

forests are widely used as carbon sinks

The EU-15 should meet its target of cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 8% between 2008 and 2012.

These reductions will include credits earned from emissions reduction projects in the developing world funded by EU members - a practice allowed under the international agreement.

Four countries, including the UK, have already met their targets. The other three resting on their laurels are France, Sweden and Greece.

At the bottom of the class are Denmark, Italy and Spain which forecast missed targets, although a report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) notes that gaps between targets and predictions are much narrower than the projections made in 2007.

"Emission performance remains mixed in the EU-15," said Professor Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the EEA.

"A few Member States are still off their Kyoto track. However, if the expected outstanding performance of other Member States is taken into account, the EU-15 as a whole should meet its Kyoto commitment.

"In addition, the situation would look better for some Member States if their projections took full account of the emission restrictions facing their industries covered by the EU Emission Trading Scheme."

The EEA has published a report, Greenhouse gas emission trends and projections in Europe 2008, that does exactly what it as on the tin and concludes that, as a block, the EU-15 is likely to make a GHG reduction of slightly over 11% by the time Kyoto concludes in 2012.

It also makes forecasts further into the future and looks at the different strategies member states are using to reduce their emissions.

Sam Bond



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