Al said that Europe is on target to meet its emissions reduction requirements under Kyoto. Perhaps he should tell Friends of the Earth:
In 2004, the combined EU-15  emissions were only 0.9% below 1990 levels, meaning that the EU-15 is shamefully off-course to meet its international Kyoto Protocol obligations to cut greenhouse pollution by 8% by 2012.
Jan Kowalzig, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:
“As these new figures embarrassingly show, our European leaders still haven’t woken up to the climate crisis. Europe’s governments make grand statements about their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, yet economy and industry Ministers continue to block or water down policy measures to switch to renewable energies, reduce energy waste or introduce fuel consumption standards for cars.”
According to the new data, Spain, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal, Italy, Finland, Denmark and Ireland are the worst performers, drifting furthest from their Kyoto emission targets. Across Europe, overall energy demand is on the rise, while renewable energy share to meet this demand is stagnating at around 6%. Also, the energy efficiency of the European economy shows only minor improvements over the past years.
Road and air transport are among the biggest culprits, with emissions from these sectors contributing most to the recent emissions increase. This is a result of a staggering growth in demand for cars and flights and because, for example, governments are failing to introduce binding fuel consumption standards for cars.
“Governments do not have the option to give global warming a backseat in favour of short term interests. The benefits of avoiding catastrophic climate change will clearly outweigh the costs of abatement policies. And switching to renewable energies will generate hundreds of thousands of new jobs throughout Europe and reduce the dependence on foreign energy imports at times of soaring oil & gas prices, ” Mr Kowalzig added.