The United Kingdom cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than any other European country in 2011, over-achieving on targets under the Kyoto protocol on climate change. Some of the reduction was owing to milder weather and an increase in renewable energy generation, but the sluggish economy is also likely to have contributed.
France and Germany also made sizeable cuts in emissions, but Spain and Italy are lagging and are in danger of missing their Kyoto targets, according to figures released by the European Environment Agency on Wednesday (24 October).
The EU as a whole will meet its target under the 1997 treaty, which requires developed countries to cut their emissions by a total of just over 5% from 1990 levels by the end of 2012. Currently, EU member states are the only major countries pledging to continue the Kyoto protocolbeyond the end of this year, when its current provisions expire.