European countries are set to exceed 2012 goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions and hit 2020 targets, according a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Released this week, Tracking progress towards Kyoto and 2020 targets concludes that the bulk of European countries required to meet a 2012 emissions target under the Kyoto Protocol are on track to meet their goals, with the exception of Austria, Denmark and Italy.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, the EU's original 15 members (EU15) are required to reduce emissions by an average of eight per cent between 2008 and 2012 compared to a 1990 base year.
"When looking at 2008 and 2009, the two first years of the Kyoto commitment period, the EU-15 appears to be well on track towards achieving its commitment of reducing emissions by 8 per cent compared to  base-year levels," the EEA report concluded.
The report also found that all 27-EU member states, including those that do not have Kyoto targets, are "well on track" to meet the EU's goal of reducing emissions 20 per by 2020, provided they fully implement the EU Climate and Energy action plan adopted in 2009.
Although the economic crisis was a major factor in the fall in emissions, the EEA forecasts that emissions will continue to fall even as the European economy begins to recover.
The report is likely to further fuel calls from the UK, France and Germany that the EU should adopt a more ambitious target that would see it cut emissions 30 per cent by 2020. Environment Ministers are meeting in Brussels to discuss the proposals, which are expected to face opposition from some eastern and southern European states.
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