The EU’s Kyoto Shell Game

RIGA – With each passing year, the impending crisis of global warming looms closer and closer. Time is running out for preventative action to be taken. The European Union’s “20-20-20” mantra aims to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% relative to their level in 1990 and to increase the share of renewable resources to 20% by the year 2020. Is it really viable?

The EU seemingly has a long-term record of championing action to prevent climate change. In 1994, the EU committed itself to the GHG reductions set forth by the Kyoto Protocol and ratified it in 2002. The EU-15 promised an 8% reduction in GHG emissions by 2010.

Every the industrial nation that has not ratified the Kyoto protocol, first and foremost the United States, has been criticized for being “environmentally irresponsible.”

But in the 15-year period between 1990 and 2005, the EU-15 managed to reduce GHG emissions by only 2%, and it is now obvious that the EU-15 will not fulfill its Kyoto commitment. Only five of the EU-15 countries are on track to meet their targets. The EU-15 could, under the best of circumstances, reduce its emissions by 4.6% by 2010.