NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 5, 2006

New figures reveal that the European Union (EU) is falling far short of reaching its emissions targets under the international climate change treaty, the Kyoto Protocol.

Instead, greenhouse gas pollution rose for the second year in a row, according to the Copenhagen-based European Environment Agency.

  • Emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases from the whole of the EU increased by 18 million tons (0.4 percent) between 2003 and 2004 while emissions from the EU-15 (the original 15 member states) increased by 11.5 million tons (0.3 percent) in the same period.
  • Spain and Italy were the biggest green sinners with emission increases of 19.7 (4.8 percent) and 5.1 (0.9 percent) million tons respectively.
  • On the other hand, Germany, Denmark and Finland all saw decreases in their gas emissions.

"An increase of 0.4 percent may appear small; however, the magnitude of (green house gas) emissions is such that the actual increase is significant," says Jacqueline McGlade, director of the agency.

Despite the various policy initiatives, this report highlights that the trend is still going in the wrong direction. Europe must implement all planned policies and measures relating to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, she added.

Source: Helena Spongenberg, "EU falls behind on green targets," EU Observer, June 23, 2006; based upon: "Annual European Community greenhouse gas inventory 1990-2004 and inventory report 2006," European Environment Agency, Technical report No. 6, June 22, 2006.

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