Greenhouse gas emission trends and projections in Europe 2012 - Tracking progress towards Kyoto and 2020 targets


Courtesy of European Environment Agency (EEA)

At the end of 2011, almost all European countries were on track towards their Kyoto targets for 2008–2012. The EU-15 also remained on track to achieve its Kyoto target. Italy, however, was not on track. Spain plans to acquire a large quantity of Kyoto units through the KP's flexible mechanisms to achieve its target.

With emission caps already set for the economic sectors under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), emissions reductions during 2012 in the sectors outside the EU ETS together with reductions by carbon sinks will set the frame for how many Kyoto units Member States need to acquire to reach their individual targets. Hence, both the development and delivery of adequate plans to acquire enough Kyoto credits is becoming increasingly important.

ETS emissions from 2008 to 2011 were on average 5 % below these caps, which results in an oversupply of allowances. The EU ETS is undergoing important changes in view of the third trading phase from 2013 to 2020.

Most EU Member States project that in 2020, their emissions outside the EU ETS will be lower than their national targets set under the Climate and Energy Package. However, further efforts will be necessary to achieve longer term reductions.

This report presents an assessment of the progress projected or achieved by the European Union (EU), its Member States and other EEA member countries towards achieving their greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets for the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol (KP) and for 2020 under EU unilateral commitments. The report supports and complements the annual report of the European Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the progress of the EU and its Member States towards set targets, as required by Article 5 of the EU Monitoring Mechanism Decision (MMD) (EU, 2004).

Almost all European countries are on track towards their Kyoto targets for 2008–2012.
By the end of 2011, after four years of the five-year first commitment period, almost all EU Member States and other EEA member countries with a Kyoto target were individually on track towards their respective Kyoto targets. This compares favourably to assessments in previous years.

Twenty-five EU Member States (all except Cyprus and Malta), Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland have individual GHG reduction and limitation targets under the KP. Each of these Kyoto targets corresponds to an emission budget (corresponding to a quantity of 'Kyoto units') for the first commitment period (2008–2012) of the KP. To achieve their Kyoto targets, countries must therefore balance their emissions with the amount of Kyoto units they are holding. Such a balance can be achieved by limiting or reducing their domestic emissions and by increasing their emission budget through the contribution of Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) activities, such as forest management, as well as the use of the KP's flexible mechanisms whereby they can acquire Kyoto units from other countries.

With the introduction of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in the EU, each national Kyoto target was split into a target for the ETS sectors (through the allocation of allowances linked to Kyoto units for the second trading period 2008–2012) and a target for emissions in the sectors not covered by the ETS. While ETS operators are legally bound to match their emissions with an equivalent number of allowances, governments must ensure that their 'non-ETS target' is met in order to achieve their Kyoto target.

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