By: Susan Kraemer
Kyoto legislation worked. The EU is on track to meet - and actually exceed the carbon emissions target it set of 8% reductions below 1990 levels by 2012, the Commission’s annual progress report on emissions shows. The EU-15 (the first fifteen signatories) will meet and exceed their initial target to get 8% below 1990 levels and 10 of the remaining 12 member states will meet and exceed their reduction goals of 6% below 1990 levels by 2012.
This contrasted with economic growth of around 44% over the same period, through 2007. Currently, as of 2009; EU-27 emissions are now estimated to be 13.6% lower than the base year level 1990.
Only two EU members; Cyprus and Malta set no emissions target. Cyprus’ main export is potatoes and citrus fruit. Malta is 100% oil powered.
The Kyoto legislation legislation the rest of the EU signed was designed to increase the adoption and development of renewable energy like solar and wind that produce energy without carbon emissions, while discouraging the use of fossil fuels like oil and coal.
This move to more renewable energy, along with legislation designed to increase forestry activities that absorb carbon from the atmosphere made the reductions possible.
Not only have they met their goals - but their total EU-27 emissions (from all 27 member states) have easily exceeded them. Their overall EU emissions were already 5.0% - 12.5% lower than base year levels by 2007; before the global economic apocalypse last year.
According to the latest figures the percentages were attributable:
- 6.9% of the reduction came from policies and measures already implemented 1 and 2 .
- 2.2% came from International emissions trading, the Clean Development Mechanism and the Joint Implementation instrument (emission-saving projects carried out in third countries).
- 1.0% came from planned afforestation and reforestation activities, which create biological ’sinks’ that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
- 1.4% came from buying allowances and credits via The European Emissions Trading System.
Additional policies and measures under consideration would, if fully implemented, bring further cuts of up to 1.6%.
These findings are in keeping with The German Marshall Fund Study (pdf) of Climate Policy and Industrial Competitiveness (previous story) earlier this year that found that European legislation was effective in incentivizing the move to renewable energy and efficiency measures that had the result of lowering European carbon emissions while not hurting their economy.
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