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EU Says Will Fulfil Kyoto Target Early, in 2010

EU Says Will Fulfil Kyoto Target Early, in 2010

 BRUSSELS - The European Union will meet its Kyoto Protocol obligations to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2010, two years before the global environment treaty's final deadline, a report by the EU executive showed on Thursday.

The European Commission said projections indicated the 15 "old" EU member states would lower their combined emissions of gases that scientists say cause global warming to 9.3 percent below 1990 levels by 2010.

"This clearly fulfils the 8 percent reduction target from 1990 levels that the protocol requires the EU-15 to achieve during 2008-2012," the Commission said in a statement. Kyoto has a binding agreement that requires the EU 15 to lower emissions as a whole.

The 10 newest EU members were not a part of the bloc at the time the agreement was thrashed out. Of those countries, only Malta and Cyprus do not have required reduction targets.

Emissions from the full 25-nation bloc would be cut by more than 11 percent from the 1990 level in 2010, the report said.

EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas warned states to keep working. Seventeen EU countries were projected to meet their emissions targets, while the others were "in the process of identifying further actions," the Commission said.

"We have already reduced our emissions despite healthy economic growth. But that does not mean we can be complacent," Dimas said in a statement.

Officials from the European Union, considered a leader in the fight against climate change, are meeting other nations in Montreal to discuss ways to battle global warming after 2012, when the first period covered by Kyoto ends.

The EU's landmark emissions trading system is the centrepiece of its strategy to cut greenhouse gases. It puts limits on the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) big polluters, like power plants, can emit.

The Commission said the report's projections were based on measures to fight climate change already in place, some that were still in the works, and credits provided in Kyoto for investment in countries outside of the EU.

Under Kyoto, about 40 industrial states are trying to cut emissions by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12 to curb warming that may lead to rising sea levels, melting icecaps, and more powerful storms.

Story by Jeff Mason
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