In a new 148 page detailed science-based report the European Environment Agency has declared unequivocally that it will meet its 2020 greenhouse gas emission targets, possibly with some time to spare. Most interestingly, the report identifies that all parts of the European plan are needed to meet the goal and that, as experts have suggested for some years, there is no silver bullet that has led to this successful outcome. This achievement is likely to put Europe in the lead of future global policy formulation as the only major trading block to have achieved its climate change objectives. Some of the key highlights of the report that may be relevant to Canadian business include:
- although the recession had a significant impact in reducing emissions, these fell more in sectors covered by the European Emissions Trading System than in other sectors.
- carbon sink activities, such as reforestation, are contributing about 1.5% of total emissions to emissions reduction [note that, perhaps confusingly for readers without strong involvement in the field, both carbon sink activities and flexibility measures are reported as an increase in the carbon emissions budget rather than as a decrease in emissions]
- flexibility measures, such as emissions reduction projects in developing countries, are contributing a further approximately 1.9% of reduction of total emissions to emissions reduction
- almost all individual European countries that signed on to the Kyoto Protocol are also on target to meet their commitments
- Europe is on track to achieving 20 % of total energy consumption being renewable energy in 2020
- only 4 EU countries (Bulgaria, Denmark, France and Germany) will meet the 20% energy efficiency target by 2020, meaning that many energy efficiency opportunities are likely to remain untapped for further work
This report, and an Executive Summary, is available at http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/trends-and-projections-2013