EU says must do more to meet Kyoto targets
By Jeff Mason
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union nations must step up efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions if the bloc is to meet its Kyoto Protocol targets on fighting climate change, the EU executive said on Tuesday.
The European Commission said the 15 EU countries that committed themselves to an 8 percent cut in emissions by 2008-2012 could reach that goal only by implementing extra measures.
At climate change talks in Bali, Indonesia, next week the EU hopes to persuade the United States and other big economies to move toward binding targets to halt and cut emissions blamed for heating the earth.
The EU's own record is likely to be scrutinized as it touts its credentials as a world leader in the global warming fight.
The Commission said EU-15 emissions were projected to be down 7.4 percent in 2010 compared with the base years, 1990 in most cases, set in the Kyoto agreement.
Those projections, collected from EU governments, were based on current measures, the purchase of Kyoto credits, and plans to create "carbon sinks" through forests that soak up carbon dioxide (CO2), the main gas blamed for global warming.
The EU-15 would reach an 11.4 percent reduction in 2010 -- exceeding the Kyoto goal -- if additional measures such as including aviation in the bloc's emissions trading scheme were put in place quickly.
"The latest projections show that the Kyoto target will be reached once the member states have adopted and implemented the additional actions now under discussion," Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said.
"I therefore urge them to do this swiftly."
Most other members of the 27-nation bloc also have goals to reduce emissions by 6 or 8 percent from selected base years. Only Malta and Cyprus have no target. Countries such as Spain and Italy that are not on track to meet their goals are identifying ways of doing so, the Commission said.
The environmental group WWF said the EU would meet its targets but should show more leadership by cutting emissions at home rather than investing in projects abroad, such as Kyoto's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which gives countries credit for funding projects to reduce emissions in developing nations.
"We believe that the EU will meet its Kyoto target (but) the way that they will meet the Kyoto target is horrible," said Stephan Singer, a climate expert at WWF's EU office.
"The EU will buy lots of CDM credits," he said. "It is by no means leading the world and showing how to make much more ambitious targets post-2012."
The Commission said EU-15 emissions were projected to be down by only 4 percent in 2010, the middle of the Kyoto period, if the projection included only measures now in place.
Planned investment in projects to reduce emissions in developing countries along with forestry measures would lead to the projected 7.4 percent fall.
The EU committed itself this year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent in 2020 compared with 1990 levels. It also pledged to increase that to a 30 percent cut if other nations join in.
The Commission said that based on current projections, EU states would have to "put emissions on a much steeper reduction path after 2012" to meet the 2020 target.
(Editing by Dale Hudson and Tim Pearce)