The 1997 Kyoto Protocol – an agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – is the world's only legally binding treaty to reduce greenhouse emissions.
However, because many major emitters are not part of Kyoto, it only covers about 18% of global emissions. In the first period of the Protocol (2008-12), participating countries committed to reduce their emissions by an average of 5% below 1990 levels.
The EU and its member countries – 15 at the time the legislation was adopted (the 'EU-15') – went beyond this and committed to an 8% cut for the bloc as a whole.
National targets under Kyoto 1
As the Protocol allowed groups of countries to meet their targets jointly, the EU's overall 8% reduction was broken down into legally binding national targets (QELRCs) (22 kB).
These targets were tailored to the relative wealth of each country at the time, under the "burden sharing" agreement, included in the decision approving the Kyoto Protocol (Decision 2002/358/EC).
They were expressed as percentages of emissions in a chosen base yearand translated into an exact national cap on greenhouse emissions (expressed in tonnes of CO2-equivalent) for the whole 2008-12 period.
Similar individual targets have been set for countries that joined the EU after the Protocol was adopted – except for Cyprus and Malta, which have no targets.
Reductions achieved under Kyoto 1
The EU and its Member States have met their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period (2008-2012).
For the whole period, the EU's total emissions, without Cyprus and Malta which have no targets, were 23.5 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent. This is equivalent to a reduction of around 19% below the base year in the period 2008-2012 domestically, without counting the additional reductions coming from carbon sinks (LULUCF) and international credits.
The EU-15 has achieved an overall cut of 11.7% domestically, without counting the additional reductions coming from carbon sinks (LULUCF) and international credits.
The specific targets are shown below.
|Targets for the EU-15 countries under "burden-sharing"|
|Targets for the remaining EU Member States|
|1990 – except:
|Fluorinated gases||1995 – except:
|Total GHG emissions [t CO2] (2008-2012)||Total GHG emissions [t CO2] (2008-2012)|
|United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland||779,904,144|
- 08/11/2013 - 2013/644/EU - Commission Implementing Decision amending Decision 2006/944/EC to include the emission level allocated to the Republic of Croatia under the Kyoto Protocol
- 15/12/2010 - 2010/778/EU - Commission Decision amending Decision 2006/944/EC determining the respective emission levels allocated to the Community and each of its Member States under the Kyoto Protocol pursuant to Council Decision 2002/358/EC
- 14/12/2006 - 2006/944/EC - Commission Decision determining the respective emission levels allocated to the Community and each of its Member States under the Kyoto Protocol pursuant to Council Decision 2002/358/EC
- 25/04/2002 - 2002/358/EC - Council Decision 2002/358/EC concerning the approval, on behalf of the European Community, of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the joint fulfilment of commitments thereunder
- 13 Feb 2012 - SWD/2012/0018 - Commission Staff Working Document "Preparing the EU's Quantified Emission Limitation or Reduction Objective (QELRO) based on the EU Climate and Energy Package"
- 19 Apr 2012 - EU submission to the UNFCCC - Information on the quantified emission limitation or reduction objectives (QELROs) for the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol
- Assigned Amount Report of the European Union (required under Article 7(1) of Decision 280/2004/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning a mechanism for monitoring Community greenhouse gas emissions and for implementing the Kyoto Protocol)
- Report on Demonstrable Progress under the Kyoto Protocol (required under Article 5(3) of Decision 280/2004/EC concerning a mechanism for monitoring Community greenhouse gas emissions and for implementing the Kyoto Protocol) and Annex