EU overall emissions fell on average by 2.5% and almost all European countries are individually on track towards their commitments under the United Nations greenhouse gas obligations -the Kyoto protocol, the figures show. 

The UK made the biggest emission cuts in absolute terms, with a reduction of 36m tonnes of CO2 equivalent (Mt CO2 eq.) in 2011, or 6 %. This was followed by France (24 Mt CO2 eq., 5 %) and Germany (17 Mt CO2 eq., 2 %).

Nine EU Member States increased emissions between 2010 and 2011. Bulgaria increased emissions by 11 %, while Lithuania increased by 3 % and Romania by 2 %. However, these countries have made some of the deepest cuts in emissions overall since 1990.

“The European Union as a whole will over-deliver on its Kyoto target”, Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director said. “In two months’ time we will be at the end of the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol.

“Considerable progress has been made since 1997 but all Member States need to deliver on their plans. For those EU Member States who have not achieved their target through domestic emission reductions, the Kyoto Protocol’s flexible mechanisms remain available until 2015.”

The latest figures show emissions in the EU have fallen by 16.5 % and the Union is well on track to meeting its target to reduce greenhouse gases by 20% between 1990 and 2020. If international aviation is excluded, as is the case with Kyoto Protocol commitments, emissions in the EU have fallen by 17.5% since 1990.

A warm winter in most countries was explained as a key factor in cutting emissions in 2011, by the EEA, as the demand for fossil fuels for heating was lower than in previous years.

Conor McGlone

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