European Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accelerating
BERLIN, Germany, August 22, 2002 (ENS) - Carbon dioxide emissions in the European Union rose in 2001 by three-quarters of one percent, according to new data from the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). Emitted by the combustion of fossil fuels, carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming as it forms a blanket trapping the Sun's heat close to Earth.
Last year's rise is greater than between the years 1999 and 2000, when CO2 levels increased by just 0.5 percent across the 15 EU member countries.
The 2001 increase pushed CO2 emissions once more above 1990 levels, at which the EU pledged to stabilize them by 2000.
A European Environment Agency report in April showed a rise in total emissions of greenhouse gases during 2000. Releases of the six greenhouse gases governed by the Kyoto Protocol rose by 0.3 percent from 1999 levels the agency reported. In 1999, emissions had fallen by two percent.
Some EU countries have already reported rising CO2 emissions in 2001, including the UK, Germany, and Denmark. DIW's report shows the trend is widespread across the European Union.
Findings of the DIW report are based on statistics from oil firm BP's 2002 energy review adjusted to take account of the carbon dioxide output when various fuels are burnt.
This "combustion CO2" comprises about 95 percent of all human CO2 emissions - industrial processes, international aviation and shipping are excluded - which in turn represent 82 percent of EU greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the DIW report, combustion CO2 emissions rose in 2001 in 10 of the EU 15 member states and fell in only four.
Those countries with rising emissions include not only Germany and the UK, which provided the motor for lower aggregate emissions during the 1990s, but also all six of the countries furthest adrift from their greenhouse gas limitation targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, an addition to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ratified by the EU in June, the member states must cut their emissions of the six greenhouse gases by eight percent from 1990 emission levels.
Countries with increasing emissions percentages were:
Italy managed to stay even with the previous year while Belgium led the reductions with -4.7 percent, followed by Luxembourg with -4.4 percent, France with -1.6 percent, and Greece with -0.1 percent.
Renewable sources of energy that do not emit greenhouse are being used more widely across the European Union, according to an official report released today. Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities in Luxembourg reported that six percent of energy consumed in the EU comes from renewables.
The data was made public in conjunction with the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development opening in Johannesburg, South Africa on Monday.
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