Europe fails to meet Kyoto targets

It's been one year since the Kyoto Protocol went into effect, but despite claims by the European Union's top brass that the targets for reducing energy use are easily in reach, the glaring failure to meet the treaty's targets have put all celebrations on hold, says Dana Joel Gattuso, of the National Centre for Public Policy Research (NCPPR).

The Kyoto Protocol requires industrialised countries to cut carbon dioxide emissions by an average 5.2 per cent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. However, 13 of the 15 original members of the European Union have increased their emissions, not reduced them:

  • New data by the EU's European Environmental Agency shows that by 2010, the 15 nations' emissions collectively will exceed 1990 levels by seven per cent.

  • Kyoto could cause the gross domestic product of the United Kingdom to fall more than one per cent in 2010 from what it otherwise would be, Italy's by more than two per cent and Spain's by more than three per cent.

  • The U.K., Italy and Germany each would lose at least 200,000 jobs and Spain would lose 800,000.

  • Even if European nations did comply with the Kyoto targets, they would achieve a paltry reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of just 0.1 per cent by 2010.

    Furthermore, while leaders within the EU are pushing for even more stringent caps beyond 2012 – the year the Kyoto Protocol expires – other key players believe Kyoto has no future. The one-year anniversary is just a reminder that the agreement's future looks bleak and that more realistic and sensible approaches to develop new methods and clean sources of energy for all industrial nations are likely to be around for a long time to come, says Gattuso.

    Source: Dana Joel Gattuso, Despite Bitterly Nagging the U.S. to Adopt Kyoto, Europe Fails to Meet Kyoto Targets, National Centre for Public Policy Research, February 16, 2006.

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    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 28 February 2006
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