August 01, 2003

EU Behind on Kyoto Goal, Transport Emissions to Blame

While the results are certainly disappointing, at least the EU is participating in the Kyoto Protocol and performing yearly monitoring studies that point to the specific areas where emissions targets are not being met. The United States, on the other hand, withdrew from Kyoto and made no progress toward complying with its predecessor agreement, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Under the Framework Convention, participating countries agreed to bring greenhouse gas emissions down to 1990 levels by 2012. However, between 1990 and 2000, greenhouse gas emissions rose 13.6%, and continue to rise.

“Rising emissions in the transport sector remain a big challenge – urgent action is needed here to make our transport system more climate-friendly,” said European Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström in a press release, commenting on the EEA report.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, ratified by the 15 EU member nations in 2002, the EU as a whole must cut its climate change emissions by 8% from 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012. The report, which is submitted annually to monitor the EU’s progress on Kyoto goals, found that CO2 emissions were 1.6% above 1990 levels in 2001.

“Transport is the obvious area to tackle, yet little is being done to reduce its climate impact,” said Beatrice Schell, director of the European Federation for Transport and Environment. “We’re tired of hearing about options: we want action. Europe should start by keeping its long-standing promises on infrastructure charging.”

The report is available from the European Environment Agency.

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