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Sandbag, a climate change think tank, has used the latest figures from the European Environment Agency (EEA) to determine that the EU has actually already achieved, and surpassed, the emissions target it agreed in 2008 to under the Kyoto Protocol.
The European Union agreed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020, yet the latest EEA data shows that Europe had already cut its emissions by 18.4% by 2011. Sandburg then suggests that if the surrendered carbon offsets were added to this figure the total emissions reduction would be around 21.4%.
Damien Morris, the Senior Policy Advisor for Sandbag, explained that “what the Environment Agency doesn't show is the emissions reductions that Europe has bought in from other countries as carbon offsets to count towards its 2020 target.”
Related article: Britain Pushes EU to Increase Emissions Target to 50%
The ease with which Europe has reduced its emissions levels has led some policy makers to debate whether or not they should increase the target to 30%, with a EC study actually suggesting that this would be a mucho more cost-effective path on the way to achieving the 80-95% decarbonisation target by 2050 that they have set. The UK is even supporting an emission reduction target of 50% by 2030, believing that whilst ambitious, it is achievable.
Morris stated that “Europe has until Spring next year to increase the target it has pledged under the Kyoto Protocol. As the world’s nations prepare to agree a new international climate deal in 2015, this would be a powerful gesture, encouraging other countries to adopt the ambitious targets we desperately need if we are to avoid dangerous climate change. Failing to revise the target, on the other hand, will leave Europe doing nothing to fight climate change for most of the next decade.”
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com