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%.
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.