NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Europe on Track for Kyoto Targets While Emissions from Imported Goods Rise

October 20, 2010

The huge extent to which Europe has exported its global warming pollution is evident from two sharply contrasting reports on how much greenhouse gas emissions have fallen or risen since world leaders signed up to huge reduction targets in the Kyoto protocol, says the Guardian.

  • The European Environment Agency reported that by the end of last year emissions produced by the current 27 member countries have fallen by more than 17 percent since 1990, putting them "well on track" to meet the target to meet the European Union's own pledge of a 20 percent reduction by 2020.
  • The original 15 EU member states who signed Kyoto have dropped their emissions by 6 percent, giving them "a headstart to reach and even overachieve" their target under the treaty of an 8 percent reduction.
  • However a report due to be published soon by the Policy Exchange think tank in London finds the emissions generated by goods and services consumed by those countries have increased by more than 40 percent.

The stringent emissions reductions policy in Europe has caused domestic emissions to be replaced by emissions from foreign imports.  If your goal is a global emissions reduction, then by this measure the policy has failed, says Brian McGraw, a research associate at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Sources: Juliette Jowit, "Europe on Track for Kyoto Targets While Emissions from Imported Goods Rise," Guardian (U.K.), October 13, 2010; and Brian McGraw, "Outsourcing Your Emissions,", October 18, 2010.

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