Here is some really good news coming from the European Union. From the EU environmental agency – EEA, located in Copenhagen – greenhouse gases emissions from the 15 first Member States decreased by 3.5 % between 2010 and 2011. The EU-15 emissions are now 14.1 % below the base-year level under the Kyoto Protocol.
The whole European Union emissions decreased 2.5 percent between 2010 and 2011, bringing them 17.5 % below the 1990 level. This shows that not only the European Union will reach its 20 percent reduction target by 2020 but that it will most likely overreach them.
Now, let’s have a look at the causes of such a decrease between 2010 and 2011. The reasons outlined by the European Environmental Agency are a mild winter and a reduction of natural gas as renewables keep growing.
Regarding the various economic sectors :
The economic sectors not covered by the EU Emission Trading System (EU ETS) reduced emissions by approximately 3.1 %. The sectors contributing most to lower emissions in the European Union in 2011 were households and the service sector. The transport sector also contributed by reducing emissions for the fourth consecutive year. Emissions under the EU ETS were cut by 1.8 % in 2011.
Here is a graph that is included in the official press release. It shows how emissions have kept on decreasing year after year and how the economic crisis of 2008 slashed emissions.
A simple trend continuation shows that with very little effort, the European Union could cut its emissions by as much as 30 percent by 2020.
We have seen time and again that this would be feasible and positive in terms of economic growth, jobs and so on. Yet, there has been no official move in this direction.
However, given the renewed commitments of many Member States such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Italy and even France there is no doubt that carbon dioxide emissions will keep decreasing in the next years.