European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas today welcomed the progress made by many Member States in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions in 2006. The emissions inventory compiled by the European Environment Agency for 2006, the latest year for which complete data is available, shows that EU-15 emissions dropped by 0.8% from 2005, taking emissions to 2.7% below their levels in the base year (1990 in most cases). This puts the EU-15 well on track to meeting its Kyoto Protocol target of keeping average emissions between 2008 and 2012 at least 8% below base year levels.
Commissioner Dimas said:”The recent emission decreases among the EU-15 are encouraging. Nevertheless, prompt and full implementation of the policies and measures adopted or planned remains crucial. Member States need to keep accelerating their efforts to limit or reduce emissions.
He added: "The emission increases in the majority of EU-12 countries are not helpful. The EU-12 countries have to bear in mind that they cannot rely on the successes of the past. Our targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions after 2012 are for the EU-27 together and a continuous effort will be required by all Member States to achieve them."
Further decoupling of emissions from economic growth
The 0.8% drop in EU-15 emissions between 2005 and 2006 contrasted with an increase in GDP of 2.8% over the period, meaning that the EU has succeeded in further decoupling emissions from economic growth. The main reasons for the emissions fall - totaling 34.9 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent - were warmer weather, lower production of nitric acid, which causes emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, and the introduction of new techniques for reducing nitrous oxide emissions from adipic acid production.
EU-27 emissions fell 0.3% in the year to stand 10.8% below levels in the base year, which for some Member States differs from 1990, and 7.7% below levels in 1990 itself. The drop, totaling 14 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, can be attributed to the reduction in nitric acid production, decreases in emissions from chemicals production in France and Hungary and lower overall use of gas and liquid fuels by households.
Transport emissions still growing
In terms of trends, within the EU-15 the 2006 figures confirm a continuing reduction in emissions from the agriculture and waste sectors. Emissions from energy industries have stabilised in the last few years while emissions from manufacturing industries show a slight decline. Transport-related emissions, however, have been constantly increasing and are of particular concern.
EU-27 trends are similar to those in the EU-15 with the exception of industrial processes, where there has been a slight emissions increase.
The data was compiled by the European Environment Agency and has been submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
European Environment Agency press release
EEA report on greenhouse gas inventory 1990-2006
Greenhouse gas emissions in CO2 equivalents (excluding carbon sinks) compared with Kyoto Protocol targets for 2008–12
Source: European Commission, based on European Environment Agency information