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04 June 2010

EU greenhouse gas emissions: more than half way to the '20 % target by 2020'

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The European Union's greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory report, compiled by the European Environment Agency (EEA), shows that emissions have not only continued their downward trend in 2008, but have also picked up pace. The EU-27's emissions stood 11.3 % below their 1990 levels, while EU-15 achieved a reduction of 6.9 % compared to Kyoto base-year levels.

'The GHG inventory report shows that the EU is well on track to meet its emission reduction targets with domestic policy measures only. Our policies and tools seem to be working' said Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the EEA. 'Although we are expecting an even sharper decline in 2009, caused mainly by the recession, we need to ensure that the downward trend in emissions continues and that Europe boosts its climate investments, with the ultimate aim of achieving a more resource-efficient economy.'

The combination of high coal and carbon prices accompanied by a drop in natural gas prices in 2008 induced heat and electricity producers to replace more polluting coal by gas and as a result, reduce their GHG emissions. The use of biomass and other renewable sources (wind and hydroelectric power) has also increased significantly in 2008. The economic recession, which started during the second half of the year, also contributed to emission reductions from several sectors including the manufacturing and construction, and road transport sectors. Road transport emissions were also affected by high oil prices, the continued decline in gasoline consumption and a reversal of the upward trend in diesel sales.

The annual reductions for EU-15 and EU-27 revealed in the inventory report fall within the brackets of the 2008 preliminary estimates, published by the Agency in August 2009.

(European Environment Agency)

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