A Less Perfect Union
Greenhouse gas emissions across the European Union increased in 2001 for the second year in a row, casting serious doubt on the ability of the bloc to meet its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol on global climate change. Emissions levels in 2001 were 1 percent higher than in 2000; under Kyoto, the E.U. is obliged to cut emissions 8 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2012. Individual countries have specific targets as well, and so far, only Germany, Sweden, Great Britain, and Luxembourg (which cut its emissions a whopping 44 percent between 1990 and 2001) appear to be on track to meet their target reductions. Spain, Portugal, and Ireland are lagging the farthest behind. From the beginning, the E.U. has been the most outspoken supporter of the Kyoto Protocol, so its inability to meet the treaty’s terms could prove deeply embarrassing.