EU greenhouse gas emissions lowest since 1990

By John Parnell

EU greenhouse gas emissions are at their lowest level since 1990, according to figures released today.

According to the data for 2011 released by the European Environment Agency (EEA), the EU’s emissions are 18.4% lower than in 1990. The bloc has a commitment under the Kyoto Protocol to cut emissions by 20% by 2020.

“The greenhouse gas emissions cut in 2011 is good news, however, it was largely due to a warmer winter. Nonetheless, the EU is making clear progress towards its emission targets,” said Jacqueline McGlade, executive director, EEA.

The Drax Power Station in the UK, the country’s largest point source of CO2 (Source: Flickr/thewritingzone)

“There was an increase in consumption of more carbon-intensive fuels such as coal, while hydroelectricity production and gas consumption decreased. If Europe is to achieve the transition towards a low-carbon society, it will need sustained investment in technology and innovation,” she added.

Rising gas prices and falling coal costs have encouraged many European countries, notably the UK and Germany to use more high carbon coal.

Wendel Trio, director of CAN Europe told RTCC:

“We are happy to see that Europe is moving onto a radically low-carbon pathway. Now the EU must stay the course. At this rate it should be able to fully decarbonise its economy by 2050.”

The EU has a long term target to reduce emissions by 80-95% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.

It is negotiating the its 2030 target now with a 40% figure suggested so far.

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