EU Greenhouse Emissions Down

EU Greenhouse  Emissions DownEU Greenhouse  Emissions Down

The European Union is set to overachieve on its 2020 target for reducing greenhouse emissions by 20%, according to a report published on Tuesday by the European Environment Agency.

The “Trends and Projections in Europe 2015” report reveals that greenhouse gas emissions in Europe decreased by 23% between 1990 and 2014, and reached the lowest levels on record, British environmental website Click Green reports.

Latest projections by member states show that the EU is heading for a 24% reduction by 2020 with current measures in place and a 25% reduction with additional measures already being planned in member states.

The EU is already working toward its 2030 goal of an emissions reduction target of at least 40%—the EU’s contribution toward the new global climate change agreement in Paris in December.

EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete said: “These results speak for themselves: Europe succeeded in cutting emissions by 23% between 1990 and 2014 while the European economy grew by 46% over the same period. We have shown consistently that climate protection and economic growth go hand in hand.

“This is a strong signal ahead of the Paris climate conference that Europe stands by its commitments and that our climate and energy policies work. And we have already taken the first steps towards implementing our Paris pledge with new proposals presented earlier this year.”

EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx said: “Europe’s efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy have resulted in concrete gains. Our report shows that the EU is on track towards its 2020 climate targets.

“The report also shows that to achieve our longer-term goals for 2030 and 2050, a fundamental change is needed in the way we produce and use energy in Europe.”

The EEA report reveals that according to estimates for 2014 greenhouse gas, emissions fell by 4% in 2014 compared to 2013. This was partly due to an unusually warm year, which lowered energy demand. This means the EU’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions were 23% below 1990 levels in 2014.

The EEA attributes the overall emissions drop to a combination of factors—economic recession, climate policies, measures to tackle fluorinated gases and a warm 2014.

Latest projections by member states show the EU is heading for a 24% reduction by 2020 with current measures in place, and a 25% reduction with additional measures already being planned in member states.

According to the report, the figures confirm the EU is also on track towards its Kyoto Protocol target for the second commitment period from 2013 to 2020.

The study says that it will be “challenging” for the EU to achieve its 2030 goals of a 27% share of renewables in its energy mix and 27% energy efficiency improvement.

Even if this is achieved, European countries will still have to double or even triple their emissions cutting efforts after 2030 to get onto a path that could limit global warming to 2° Celsius by mid-century, The Guardian reported.

Environmentalists called for a review of the EU’s Paris pledge.

“The news that the EU is on track to significantly overachieve its 2020 climate target means Europe can afford to move beyond its cautious offer for 2030, which does not factor in this higher starting point,” said Louisa Casson, a spokesperson for the green think tank E3G.