New European Environment Agency (EEA) estimates indicate that EU greenhouse gas emissions decreased in 2008 for the fourth consecutive year. Compared to the 2007 official emissions published earlier this year, the annual reduction is estimated to be about 1.3 % for the EU-15 and 1.5 % for the EU-27. Based on these estimates, the greenhouse gas emissions in 2008 stand approximately 6.2 % below the Kyoto base-year emissions for the EU-15, and 10.7 % below the 1990 level for the EU-27. Under the Kyoto Protocol, the EU-15 has a common commitment to reduce emissions on average by 8 % between 2008 and 2012 compared to emissions in the ‘base year’. The base-year emissions for the EU-15 have been fixed to 4 265.5 million tonnes CO2 equivalent.
The road to Copenhagen, where all world’s countries will gather in December to confront each on climate changes and global warming – and the shifts in geopolitics the different adaptation policies scenarios would sparkle – is made of tactical moves . each and every country is trying to earn the best possible positions, to enter the conference with a sgtronger and best-selling situation.
The new EEA report on air pollution in the 27 EU Member States might be read this way: we are doing are dues, and we’re getting better and better. It’s up to the others to engage more into their own tasks. That’s what the EU is saying to counterparts in Copenhagen.
As the very press release says, this “is the first time that EEA has produced EU-wide estimates of total greenhouse gas emissions just months after the year in question”, and that is happening just when the world is packing up to the Conference on Global Climate. Coincidence, of course.
Time-biased as it might be, though, the EEA report does contain a number of good news for us Europeans. Let us have a look at what the EEA is saying.
The vast majority of the decline in emissions in 2008 was due to lower CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion in the energy, industry and transport sectors. The cut was undoubtedly helped by the financial crisi, which slowed down industrial production and forced many factories to close operation. All this resulted in reduced industrial output and reduced energy consumption by industry, and correspondingly reduced freight transport. Of course, that’s not something we could cheer for, though. We do want the economy to start working again, and those who lost their jobs return to a state of fnancial security.
The reductions are also apparent in the verified emissions from EU ETS (Emission Trading Scheme) for 2008, where total EU-27 emissions decreased by 3.9 % between 2007 and 2008.
These 2008 emission estimates will be used to better track progress towards EU targets in the annual EEA report on greenhouse gas emission trends and projections in Europe, which will be published later this year.
The official 2008 greenhouse gas emissions for the EU will be available in June 2010, when the EEA publishes the EU Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990–2008 and Inventory Report 2010, to be submitted to the UNFCCC.