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Report: EU Must Take Immediate Action on Kyoto Targets; Transport Emissions Represent Largest Increase

EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions from transport compared with transport volumes, compared to 1990 levels (Index: 1990 emissions=100) Click to enlarge.

All Member States must seriously tackle greenhouse gas emissions immediately, if the EU-15 is to meet its collective Kyoto target, according to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA).

The report, Greenhouse gas emission trends and projections in Europe 2006, presents an evaluation of historic data between 1990 and 2004. It also evaluates projections of European countries’ progress towards their 2010 greenhouse gas emissions targets.

Between 1990 and 2004, EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions decreased from most sectors, the report says. However, emissions from the transport sector increased by nearly 26%—the largest increase in greenhouse gas emissions—and are projected to increase to 35% above 1990 levels by 2010, if countries use only existing policies. If additional policies are implemented, Member States project that transport emissions will, at best, stabilize at 2004 levels.

Transport emissions in the EU-15 increased by 2% between 2003 and 2004 alone. Road transport was by far the biggest transport emission source (93% share). Emissions increased continuously due to high growth in both passenger transport (increase of 27% between 1990 and 2004) and freight transport by road (increase of 51% between 1990 and 2003).

The average carbon dioxide emissions of new passenger cars has decreased by about 12% from 1995 to 2004. However, 21% more cars were sold in the same period. As a result, this increase more than offset the emission reductions from new cars.

EU carbon dioxide emissions from international aviation and navigation (which are not addressed under the Kyoto Protocol) increased by 59% between 1990 and 2004.

In spite of more fuel efficient vehicles, the emissions from transport by road are likely to further increase due to the rise in traffic volumes. The European Commission recently stressed that the concerted efforts by automobile manufacturers were insufficient to reach the goals set for new passenger cars for 2008–2009. Moreover, it added that additional efforts were absolutely essential in order to meet the final target of 140 g CO2/km.

In addition to efficiency improvements, efforts to limit the increase in traffic volumes as well as a shift to less CO2 emitting transport modes are also required.

The EU-15 has a Kyoto target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 8% on 1990 levels by 2012. Within this overall target, each EU-15 member state has a differentiated emissions target, which can be achieved by a variety of means.

Only by implementing all existing and planned domestic policy measures and using Kyoto mechanisms and carbon sinks, can emissions be brought down to 8.0 %, the EU-15 target, according to the report. However, this projection relies on figures from several Member States suggesting they will cut emissions by more than is required to meet their national targets and this cannot be assured, the report stresses.

Looking ahead to 2010, the report says that existing domestic policies and measures will reduce EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions by a net effect of 0.6 % from 1990 levels. When additional domestic policies and measures (i.e. those planned but not yet implemented) are taken into account, the EU-15 could reduce emissions by an additional 4.0%.

The projected use of Kyoto mechanisms by ten of the EU-15 will reduce emissions by a further 2.6% at a cost of €2,830 million. The use of carbon sinks, such as planting forests to remove CO2, would reduce emissions by an additional 0.8%.

Without existing policies and measures, total EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions would have been higher than the base-year level. The total effect of the existing policies and measures compared to a theoretical reference scenario without any measures since 1990 would be greater than the 0.6 % reduction referred to here. Click to enlarge.

The ten new EU Member States are not part of the joint EU-15 target and all, except Cyprus and Malta, have individual targets under the Kyoto Protocol. They are all on track to meet their targets, but this is largely due to the collapse of economies in the 1990s and emissions are now rising again in these countries, the report says.



Mark A

How much of this could be attributed to the increased proliferation of diesel, in the EU?? How did the US do, in the same time frame? Maybe the US was smart in not adopting the Kyoto standards, knowing they were unreachable?
Everyone likes to knock the US for having too strict emmission controls, which limit the availability of some European models, namely diesel models. But maybe we are on the right track afterall!!!


If you read: the average car has DROPPED by 12% so it's not the cars, it's the fact that more of them are sold and in use.

What, so your suggestion is because something's hard to achieve best to not bother at all?

Diesels create less CO2 (better fuel econ despite more C in the fuel) than petrol engined cars so I don't see you argument.

It's hard so let's not bother? Well that attitude sure didn't get you to the Moon now did it?


Mark A. Please elaborate on your thesis about diesel. As the article says, the average emission levels have decreased significantly per car. The problem is not so much the individual car but the large increase in traffic volumes. Perhaps there is sort of a Jevonian paradox operating here.

Also, perhaps the results here illustrate the futility of simply increasing the efficiency of new vehicles. If the volumes are increasing like they are, they will obviously swamp the ability of technology and car choices to make a difference.

I think the bottom line here is that the only real hope for making a difference is for people to get out of their car and for Europe to rapidly transition from a truck based goods delivery system to a rail based system.

It doesn't do much good if large number of us are driving cars like the Prius if we continue to live 60 miles and more from work.

As far as the U.S., not even trying to reach Kyoto goals or any other goals is hardly smart in the face of global warming. Goals are imperative and mandated strategies for reaching those goals are imperative.

Further, here are some facts about the U.S.

WASHINGTON, DC, April 18, 2006 (ENS) - U.S. greenhouse gas emissions during 2004 increased by 1.7 percent from the previous year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which released the figures Monday. This was the largest annual amount ever produced by any country on record, said The Royal Society, the UK national academy of science, warning that urgent action is needed to curb emissions.

In addition, from the same report$File/06FastFacts.pdf,
CO2 emissions have incresed by 19.6% from 1990 to 2004. There is also nothing to suggest that, based on current trends, we will come even close to what europe is doing on an absolute or percentage basis.

There is nothing in U.S. policy or trends that would indicate we will reduce emissions at all much less to a level that is lower than 1990.

And despite the Europeans' possible failure to meet Kyoto, this article states that they will still be able have emissions below 1990 levels by 2010.

Rafael Seidl

Incent farmers to switch to biofuel feedstocks as long as there is excess food production. On hillside properties, pay them to grow trees, reducing flood risks.

Eliminate export subsidies for all intra-EU freight. We still have way too much livestock, dairy products etc. being shuttled back and forth (e.g. across the Alps) just to collect these.

Sharply reduce wait states in rail freight without jeopardising safety by introducing redundant satellite navigation, robust communications networks and adaptive traffic control on key routes. Break national monopolies on the ownership and operation of locomotives and self-propelled rolling stock.

Insist that airlines quote only total ticket prices incl. all taxes, fuel surcharges etc. Incent airlines to partner with ground transportation providers on routes shorter than ~250km/150mi. This includes integrated baggage handling, perhaps also door-to-door service.

Consider setting a per-vehicle cap on CO2 emissions (e.g. 210 g CO2/km by MY 2012) so carmakers have to redefine their concept of a luxury vehicle for the European market. Top-of-the-line models tend to define brand identity and influence consumer aspirations.


The EU bit off more then they could chew since the beginning and they knew it. This article isn't surprising.


At least they're chewing, which is more than I can say for our pathetic Canadian Government.


ya, our canadian governments environmental plan consists of "trying to catch up with the american's". not really setting the bar too high on that one.


OK, Europe, you went for Diesel fuels in a big way. Knowledgeable people are aware that the well-to-wheel efficiency of Diesel is higher than that of gasoline, and the CO2 emissions are lower.

Over here in the United States, people don't care as much about CO2 emissions as the Europeans do -- or any kind of pollution, for that matter. But hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles are selling well in America, to those who do care. HEV's, like Diesels, increase the well-to-wheel efficiency.

Is it finally time for the hybrid Diesel car?

With at least 10 kilometers of PHEV capability, pretty please?

Rafael Seidl

John -

a passenger car diesel PHEV would weigh about 1000lbs more than a gasoline car with similar performance. It would also be exorbitantly expensive.

Diesel will become popular for SUVs and pick-up trucks starting in 2008, with the arrival of T2B5 designs on the coat-tails of ULSD. Once US filling stations clean up the area around their gasoil dispensers, demand for diesel-powered sedans and minivans may pick up as well. Ergo, European-inspired straight diesels will probably co-exist with Japanese-inspired gasoline HEVs in the market for some time.

Citroen PSA has added microhybrid functionality to a few diesel models. Eliminating idling reduces emissions in stop-and-go traffic and improves fuel economy by ~5%.

fyi CO2

I'm with Raf, set a per-vehicle cap on CO2 emissions (e.g. 200g CO2/km by MY 2010) - there is NO luxury in 2050 if we can't control the pace of CO2 emissions.


Diesels have very good fuel consumption under part throttle and idle conditions so the benefit of elininating idling isn't as much as for gas powered cars.


How constant stop/restart of diesel hybrid affects it PM emission? Anybody?


For a diesel PHEV hybrid, you would want a "one start" mode where the system has a GPS receiver and monitors your journey. If it recognizes a standard journey ( like a run to work at 8am), it can decide when to run the diesel engine so as to charge the battery, or at least stop running it down. Thus, for most journeys, you use the ICE only once, but get considerable range, even with a small battery or a battery with a shallow discharge cycle.
That is how I would propose a diesel PHEV.



"a passenger car diesel PHEV would weigh about 1000lbs more than a gasoline car with similar performance. It would also be exorbitantly expensive."

Does that 1000lbs include the reduced size of the diesel engine? Is that a full or mild hybrid? What kind/size of battery are we talking about here? What is your definition of exorbitant? Most full hybrids are only a few K more than a regular ICE car.

Rafael Seidl

Fyi CO2 -

your timeline may be a little too aggressive. Pols also have to make sure carmakers don't go under because of over-stringent regulations. The high end is where carmakers achieve what meagre profits are available. Redefining a brand's concept of high-end may not be feasible in a single model generation. Unless, of course, you somehow give carmakers credits for certifying biofuel compatibility *and* require refineries to increase blend fractions on a predictable schedule (i.e. phase out zero/low blends).

Andrey -

microhybrids will start the ICE if the temperature-sensitive aftertreatment devices (oxycat, NOx store) would otherwise cool down too much. If a DPF is present, it will trap ~98% of the PM emitted even by a cold engine or one that is subjected to a large load step.

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