Brussels, 27 October 2006
Latest projections indicate that the 15 States which were EU members before 2004 (EU-15) will only just reach their Kyoto Protocol target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The EU-15 are committed to reducing their collective emissions in the 2008-2012 period to 8% below the levels of the base year (1990 in most cases). The Commission's annual progress report shows that an 8% cut can be achieved in 2010 – the period's mid-point – provided that all actions planned by Member States are fully implemented and deliver the emission savings anticipated. Seven EU-15 Member States project that they will exceed their individual emission limits, which are binding under EU law. For the 25 current Member States (EU-25), the overall emission reduction by 2010 would be 10.8%.
"These projections show there is no room for complacency or error," Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said. "The Commission continues to launch new initiatives to reduce European emissions, as the Energy Efficiency Action Plan announced last week demonstrates. But all Member States must pull their weight to ensure that we deliver on our collective commitment. Those that are not on track urgently need to step up efforts to meet their targets, if necessary by taking further national measures to reduce emissions. Only if national allocation plans for the second period of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme are ambitious enough will each Member State be able to achieve its Kyoto obligations."
As announced in June (see IP/06/820), EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions in 2004 - the latest year for which complete data are available – were 0.9% lower than base year levels, while the economy expanded by 32% over the same period.
The latest projections by Member States show that with only existing policies and measures – those already implemented – future EU-15 emissions are expected to be just 0.6% below base year levels by 2010. Additional measures already agreed at EU and national levels should take the reduction to 4.6% provided they are fully implemented on time.
On top of this, 10 of the EU-15 plan to obtain emission reduction credits from third-country projects carried out under Kyoto’s market-based mechanisms. If these plans are fully realised, they would further reduce emissions to 7.2% below base year levels by 2010. With the addition of afforestation and reforestation activities, which create biological 'sinks' that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the total reduction could just reach 8.0%, the Kyoto target.
Seven EU-15 Member States project that their emissions will be higher than allowed under the EU 'burden-sharing' agreement, which translates the 8% reduction commitment into legally binding individual emission targets for each of the EU-15. The seven are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain (see Annex).
Unlike the EU-15, the EU-25 does not have a collective emissions target under the Kyoto Protocol. Eight of the ten new Member States (EU-10) have individual targets to cut their emissions to 6% or 8% below base year levels. Cyprus and Malta have no targets. All those with targets project that they will meet them.
EU-25 emissions fell by 7.3% between the base year and 2004. The projections show that with only existing policies and measures, this reduction will shrink to 4.6% in 2010. But if additional policies and measures already agreed are also taken into account, emissions in 2010 would be 8.1% lower than in the base year. If use of the Kyoto mechanisms and carbon sinks are added in as well, the total EU-25 reduction would reach 10.8%.
The progress report, and further information on climate change, is available at
 Report from the Commission: Progress towards achieving the Kyoto targets. COM(2006) 658