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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 November 2005, 05:12 GMT
EU missing greenhouse gas targets
By Roland Pease
BBC science correspondent

French glacier   PA
Alpine glaciers could fast disappear
The European Union is likely to miss its greenhouse gas targets by a wide margin, according to an official assessment of the Union's environment.

The European Environment Agency says that the 15 longest-standing members of the EU are likely to cut emissions to just 2.5% below 1990 levels.

This falls well short of their target 8% cut.

Growth in the transport sector is partly to blame, with increased air travel offsetting gains made elsewhere.

The European Union is at the heart of the Kyoto process, and is committed to substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

But real performance is poor according to the new report on Europe's environmental health - emissions have in fact been rising since the year 2000.

Renewables underused

Improvements in industrial efficiency and reductions in methane emissions from waste tips have given the most dramatic gains.

But elsewhere the story is one of reverses.

Longer car journeys have more than eaten into any gains in engine performance, and ship and airline journeys are also increasing fast.

Environmentalists will be disappointed that the share of renewable sources of electricity has increased by only 0.5% since 1990.

Renewables like wind and biomass being seen as the key to any low-carbon economy.

On the other hand, the report does include a glimmer of hope - that if measures that have been promised are implemented, the Kyoto target will be more than met.

The trouble is that reality and promise don't seem to be matched at the moment.

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