Select Committee on European Scrutiny Fifteenth Report


CLIMATE CHANGE: PROGRESS REPORT ON REDUCING COMMUNITY GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS


(23035)

15047/01

COM (01)708


Commission Report under Council Decision 93/389/EEC, as amended by Decision 99/296/EC, for a monitoring mechanism for Community greenhouse gas emissions.

Legal base:
Document originated:30 November 2001
Forwarded to the Council:4 December 2001
Deposited in Parliament:3 January 2002
Department:Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Basis of consideration:EM of 21 January 2002
Previous Committee Report:None; but see footnote 35
To be discussed in Council:No date set
Committee's assessment:Politically important
Committee's decision:Cleared


Background

  11.1  In order to meet the environmental challenges presented by global warming, the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) requires industrialised countries to return their emissions of greenhouse gases by the year 2000 to the levels obtaining in 1990. However, at their first meeting, the Parties to the Convention recognised that further action was needed beyond 2000, and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol set legally binding emission targets for industrialised countries to meet by 2012. The Community has undertaken to reduce its 1990 emission levels by 8% by the period 2008-2012, with reductions by individual Member States being apportioned under the Burden Sharing Agreement (see Annex I)

The current document

  11.2  This document is the second report from the Commission assessing actual and projected progress of Member States and the Community towards the Kyoto targets, the first such Report having been produced in March 2000[35]. The current Report covers actual emissions between 1990 and 1999, and projections to 2010, based on information provided by the Member States. It shows that, between 1990 and 1999, greenhouse gas emissions across the Community fell by 4%. However, this was due largely to reductions in Germany and the UK, and projections show that, as a result of increasing emissions in the transport sector (which could rise by more than 30% by 2010), the Community as a whole is likely only to stabilise its emissions at 1990 levels by 2010. As a consequence, additional policies and measures are needed if the majority of Member States are to meet their targets and the Community is to meet its Kyoto undertaking to reduce emissions by 8%.

  11.3  The Report says that nine Member States, including the UK, have produced programmes identifying additional measures which should ensure that they meet their targets, and that it has been estimated that this would reduce overall Community emissions in 2010 by 5%. (It also notes that this figure would be increased if the UK and Germany were, as projected, to exceed their commitments under the Burden Sharing Agreement, but says that neither the Community nor other Member States should rely on this.) The other factor identified in the Report is that Community-wide policies identified under the European Climate Change Programme are identified as having the potential to save an additional 5% by 2010, but it also makes the point that actual savings will depend upon what is finally agreed (and then implemented).

The Government's view

  11.4  In his Explanatory Memorandum of 21 January 2002, the Minister of State (Commons) at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mr Michael Meacher) says that the Government welcomes the Report as a useful signpost of the progress made by Member States, and of the further action required if they and the Community are to meet their Kyoto targets. It is also concerned that all Member States should meet their targets, and that the Community should not rely on over-compliance by some Member States to ensure that the overall target is met. It therefore welcomes the Report's endorsement of this point, and believes that it will increase the pressure to take action on those Member States in danger of missing their targets.

Conclusion

  11.5  This is an essentially factual report, which we are clearing. It does nevertheless contain interesting information about the progress to date of the Community and its Member States in meeting its targets under the 1992 Framework Convention, and more especially the prospects for achieving the targets for 2008-2012 agreed in the Kyoto Protocol (where we note the Community's heavy reliance on the emission reductions projected by the UK and Germany).

  ANNEX I

Member States' commitments under the Community's Burden Sharing

Agreement

  (percentage changes for 2008-2012 relative to 1990 emission levels)

Austria

-13

Belgium

-7.5

Denmark

-21

Finland

0

France

0

Germany

-21

Greece

+25

Ireland

+13

Italy

-6.5

Luxembourg

-28

Netherlands

-6

Portugal

+27

Spain

+15

Sweden

+4

UK

-12.5



35   (21092) 6914/00; see HC 23-xiv (1999-2000), paragraph 9 (12 April 2000). Back


 
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