Copenhagen: A fall in greenhouse gas emissions in 2008 and 2009 is set to help the EU meet and even surpass the emissions cut targets set under the Kyoto Protocol, the European Environmental Agency (EEA) said.
The Copenhagen-based agency said in a report published Tuesday the 15 European Union countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 (Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden) had together cut emissions in 2008 and 2009 by 250 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2).
This means the group would be on track to achieving, and even going beyond, their Kyoto-set target of an average 8.0 percent reduction of emissions between 2008 and 2012, compared to emissions in the benchmark year of 1990.
A spokeswoman for the EEA said the 2008 and 2009 fall in emissions could be attributed mainly to the global downturn, which caused most of Europe`s economies to slow down.
The EEA however said Austria, Denmark and Italy needed "to step up their current efforts until 2012 to ensure that their contribution to the common EU-15 target is delivered."
The agency also said that as a whole, the European Union was on its way to achieve its target of reducing its 2020 emissions by 20 percent over 1990 levels.
The good news comes a day ahead of a meeting of European Union Environment ministers in Luxembourg.
Delegates from more than 170 countries held talks earlier this month in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin, in the latest round of long-running United Nations negotiations aimed at eventually securing a post-2012 global treaty on how to limit and cope with climate change.
Current pledges under the the Kyoto Protocol expire at the end of 2012.