Brussels, 14 June 2007
Climate change: Commissioner Dimas welcomes 2005 reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions and calls for further action
European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas welcomed today's news that the European Union's greenhouse gas emissions fell by 0.7% in 2005 and urged Member States to accelerate structural economic changes to ensure deeper, lasting emission cuts. The emissions fall in 2005 took EU-27 emissions to 11% below their levels in the Kyoto Protocol’s base year (1990 for most countries and gases) and EU-15 emissions to -2 %. The EU-15 is committed under Kyoto to ensuring that its emissions between 2008 and 2012 average at least 8% below base year levels.
“It is very encouraging that we are cutting emissions while the European economy grows strongly," Commissioner Dimas said, "but it is clear that many member states need to accelerate their efforts to limit emissions significantly if the EU is to meet its Kyoto target. With the adoption of long-term emission reduction targets by EU leaders in March, there is no reason to wait to take bold steps to achieve the necessary structural changes in how we produce and use energy. Doing so will ensure that emissions cuts become progressively deeper and remain permanent. “
The EU inventory of greenhouse gas emissions for 2005, published by the European Environment Agency, shows a 0.8% drop from 2004 levels for the EU-15 and a 0.7% drop for the EU-27 member states. This compares with a 1.8% increase in Gross Domestic Production in 2005 in the EU-27.
Germany, Finland, the Netherlands and Romania contributed most to the 2005 decrease in absolute terms. Germany reduced its emissions by 2.3% or 23.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents, Finland by 14.6% (11.9 million tonnes), the Netherlands by 2.9% (6.3 million tonnes) and Romania by 4% (6.4 million tonnes). Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Sweden and the UK also recorded falls.
The decrease in 2005 EU-15 emissions was due mainly to lower CO2 emissions from public electricity and heat production, households and services, and road transport.
CO2 emissions from public electricity and heat production fell by 0.9% due mainly to a reduction in the use of coal. CO2 emissions from households and services decreased by 1.7%, with substantial falls in Germany, UK and the Netherlands. One general reason for this was the milder than usual winter. Germany also achieved significant reductions in methane emissions from the waste sector as a number of innovative policies and measures began to bear fruit.
CO2 emissions from road transport dropped by 0.8% in the EU-15, largely due to a fall in Germany also.
Among EU-15 member states Spain recorded the biggest emissions increase in absolute terms in 2005, with a rise of 3.6% or 15.4 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents. This was due mainly to a 17% increase in electricity production by fossil-fuel power stations, coupled with a 33% fall in electricity generation by hydro-power plants due to reduced river levels.
Poland saw the biggest emissions increase in absolute terms among the EU-12 member states, with a rise of 0.6% or 2.3 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents. This was due mainly to a 1% increase in fugitive methane emissions from energy and rises in methane and nitrous oxide emissions from the agriculture sector of 5% and 4.5% respectively. Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal and Slovenia also saw emissions increases in 2005.
2005 is the first year for which verified CO2 emissions data are available from installations covered by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, which was launched on 1 January 2005. In 2005 the EU ETS covered about 50% of total EU-25 CO2 emissions and about 40% of all EU-25 greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to about 2 billion tonnes.
A lack of independently verified emissions data for the years before the EU ETS was launched makes it difficult to measure the scheme's full impact on emissions. However, some early academic research indicates that emissions may have fallen by several per cent in 2005 compared with their level before the start of the EU ETS.
Commissioner Dimas said: "“For the 2008-2012 trading period the European Commission has ensured that there is a clear downward emissions path for sectors covered by the EU ETS. Other policies and measures agreed under the European Climate Change Programme and Member States' own climate action plans also need to be fully implemented at national level.”
Greenhouse gas emissions in CO2 equivalents (excluding carbon sinks) compared with Kyoto Protocol targets for 2008–12
Source: European Environment Agency
(2) Malta did not provide GHG emission estimates for 2005, therefore the data provided in this table is based on gap filling
(3) EU-27 does not have a common Kyoto Protocol target
 EU-15 Member States have differentiated, legally binding targets to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions within the framework of the EU-15's Kyoto commitment to an 8% reduction. The new Member States are not part of the EU-15's collective commitment to an 8% emissions reduction as they joined the EU after it was made. Instead, they have individual commitments under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce their emissions by 6% or 8% between the base year and 2008-2012, except for Cyprus and Malta which have no targets.