The European Union has found an unlikely helper in the fight to cut its greenhouse gas emissions: the recession. According to a Reuters report, the EU’s emissions dropped for a fourth straight year in 2008, largely due to decreases in industrial activity caused by the recession. Go figure….
Apparently, since the recession began (in 2008), Europe’s industrial sector declined, as did its energy consumption and freight transport. The result, for the 15 EU countries committed to trimming CO2 under the Kyoto Protocol, was that emissions fell by 1.3 percent from 2007. (The entire 27-country bloc’s emissions fell by 1.5 percent.) This decrease put total emissions for Kyoto Protocol adherents at 6.2 percent below base levels set by the Protocol, and, for the greater EU, at 10.7 percent below the EU’s 1990 level.
Other factors in this decline, including the effects of changes in land use, have yet to be analyzed.
According to EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, these figures are significant in business-environment analyses, including those to take place at the UN Climate Change Conference in December. “These provisional figures are a further confirmation that the EU is well on track to reach its Kyoto target, even if one should recognize that part of the reduction in emissions is due to the economic slowdown,” he said. Furthering the trend could also be a valuable tool in future efforts to trim CO2 emissions, he said.