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Climate Action

Kyoto 1st commitment period (2008–12)

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
EU-15 -8% Bulgaria -8%
Austria -13% Croatia -5%
Belgium -7.5% Czech Republic -8%
Denmark -21% Estonia -8%
Finland 0% Hungary -6%
France 0% Latvia -8%
Germany -21% Lithuania -8%
Greece +25% Poland -6%
Ireland +13% Romania -8%
Italy -6.5% Slovakia -8%
Luxembourg -28% Slovenia -8%
Netherlands -6%    
Portugal +27% Cyprus N/A
Spain +15% Malta N/A
Sweden +4%    
United Kingdom -12.5%    


Base years for each greenhouse gas
Gas Base year
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Methane (CH4)
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O)
1990 – except:
  • Bulgaria – 1988
  • Hungary – average of 1985-7
  • Slovenia – 1986
  • Poland –1988
  • Romania – 1989
Fluorinated gases
  • hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
  • perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
  • sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)
1995 – except:
  • Austria, Croatia, France, Italy, Slovakia – 1990


Total GHG emissions from sources included in Annex A to the Kyoto Protocol
Total GHG emissions [t CO2] (2008-2012) Total GHG emissions [t CO2] (2008-2012)


Bulgaria 132,618,658
Austria 79,049,657 Croatia 31,321,790
Belgium 145,728,763 Czech Republic 194,248,218
Denmark 69,978,070 Estonia 42,622,312
Finland 710,03,509 Hungary 115,397,149
France 563,925,328 Latvia 25,909,159
Germany 1,232,429,543 Lithuania 49,414,386
Greece 106,987,169 Poland 563,442,774
Ireland 55,607,836 Romania 278,225,022
Italy 516,850,887 Slovakia 72,050,764
Luxembourg 13,167,499 Slovenia 20,354,042
Netherlands 213,034,498    
Portugal 60,147,642    
Spain 289,773,205    
Sweden 72,151,646    
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 779,904,144    


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