Greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union fell for the
fourth year running in 2008, thanks to the economic recession, the
European Environment Agency (EAA) said Monday.
The official EEA estimates showed a 1.5 percent drop in
emissions from the 27-nation European Union as a whole and a 1.3
percent drop from its 15 older and richer members.
"The vast majority of the decline in emissions in 2008 was due
to lower CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion in the energy,
industry and transport sectors," the environment agency said in a
The reductions "reflect the effects of the global economic
recession which began in 2008, which resulted in reduced industrial
output and reduced energy consumption by industry, and
correspondingly reduced freight transport," it added.
Nonetheless the European Commission welcomed the news as showing
"further EU progress towards Kyoto targets," of reducing emissions
in the 2008-2012 by eight percent from 1990 levels.
So far European Union nations have cut emissions by more than 10
percent altogether, according to the EAA estimates.
"These provisional figures are a further confirmation that the
EU is well on track to reach its Kyoto target, even if one should
recognise that part of the reduction in emissions is due to the
economic slowdown." said EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.
"This trend needs to be further consolidated in the coming
years," he added.
The EU had already shown it was capable of decoupling its
emissions from economic growth, he said.
Dimas called the figures a timely message to the rest of the
world in the run up to the international climate conference in
EU nations have set themselves the goal, independent of Kyoto,
of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and are
hoping to reach international agreement for even more ambitious