• Transport undermining EU progress on Kyoto target

    Greenhouse gases from Europe’s transport sector are preventing the EU from meeting its obligations under the Kyoto protocol.

    That is the conclusion from an analysis by T&E of the latest data the European Environment Agency (EEA) has prepared for the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The EEA reports every year as part of the EU’s commitment – as a bloc – to reducing its climate-changing emissions by 8% between 1990 and 2008-12.

    With the latest figures covering the period 1990-2004, overall greenhouse gas emissions in the 25-member EU have decreased by either 2.7% or 4.8%, depending on whether emissions from international aviation and shipping are included. If trans- port were taken away – or had remained stable since 1990 – overall emissions would be down by 8.1%, which would leave the EU on target to exceed its commitment.

    With less than four years until the first Kyoto targets need to be met, the trend is going the wrong way, with EU greenhouse gas emissions rising for the second year running.

    European emissions increased by 35 million tonnes (0.7%) between 2003 and 2004, with the increase from transport up by 3.1%. Even if aviation and shipping were excluded, transport’s increase would still be 2.2%. Neither aviation nor shipping is regulated by the Kyoto protocol or any other international agreement.

    Transport is now responsible for 19.4% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions, up from 15% in 1990. If aviation and shipping were included, the percentage goes up from 17.4% in 1990 to 23.6% in 2004. Emissions from aviation and shipping have been increasing at higher rates than those of the rest of the transport sector.

    Spain was the biggest emitter with a 4.8% increase, followed by Italy with 0.9%. Germany, Denmark and Finland all reported decreases in greenhouse gas emissions.

    “This report highlights that the trend is still going in the wrong direction,” said Jacqueline McGlade, the EEA’s director. “Europe must implement all planned policies and measures relating to reducing emissions.”

    This news story is taken from the July 2006 edition of T&E Bulletin.