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EU relying on developing countries for emissions reductions

PRESS RELEASE – Brussels, 27 November 2007

EU climate efforts
EU relying on developing countries for emissions reductions

A new report presented by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission today highlights Member States’ progress (or lack thereof) towards Kyoto targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Greens, the figures presented by the Commission show that the EU is totally reliant on developing countries for emissions reductions, with the figures far from positive as regards real emissions from EU countries. Commenting on the report, Finnish Green and vice-chair of the EP Environment Committee Satu Hassi said:

“The figures presented by the EEA and the Commission unfortunately hide an inconvenient truth: the EU is relying on developing countries to mask its own failure to seriously reduce greenhouse gas emissions in real terms. While the report projects 7.4% reductions ‘with existing policies’, this will most likely not mean a reduction in emissions from the EU in real terms but at best a stabilisation of 1990 emissions. The target of an 8% reduction is only achieved by the purchasing of credits from projects in developing countries, like China and India**.

“This reliance on outside credits for EU15 compliance with Kyoto targets will mean that unless other new policies actually drive real emissions reductions, the EU will already be starting on the back foot when it comes to post-Kyoto 2020 targets. If the EU has over-relied on emissions credits from developing countries, it will be nowhere near a basis of -8% of emissions (based on 1990 levels) in 2012. The Commission must put the EU on track towards real emissions reductions (particularly if it is to achieve its -30% target by 2020) by revising the Emissions Trading System to show real leadership to the rest of the world.”

**The figures presented in the report show government use of Kyoto mechanisms but fail to account for company use, which is embedded in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and the National Allocation Plans for 2008-2012. The ETS covers approximately half of EU total emissions. Under the ETS companies are allowed to use credits from the Kyoto mechanisms (Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation) to account for 13.4 % of their emissions. When this is combined with the projected government use, this could amount to around 9% of EU15 emissions (at 1990 levels) i.e. the more than the full reduction target that EU-15 committed to. Considering recent reports that up to half the reductions from CDM and JI projects are questionable, this would fundamentally undermine the integrity of the entire scheme and the credibility of EU climate policy.