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Friday, 22 May 2009

Spain emissions fall but far above Kyoto benchmark

MADRID, May 21 (Reuters) - Spain's emissions of greenhouse gases fell 6.5 percent in 2008 year but were still 42.7 percent above the benchmark set by the Kyoto protocol, members of a working party monitoring climate change policy said on Thursday.
In 2008 Spain emitted the equivalent of 413.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, the Comisiones Obreras union said, compared with 289.8 million in 1990, the Kyoto reference year.
Comisiones Oberas sits on a panel with government and business leaders to review emissions and provides a detailed report every year.
The Environment Ministry has said separately that greenhouse gases produced by industries covered by the European Emissions Trading scheme fell by 12.4 percent in 2008.
The Kyoto Protocol obliges cuts in greenhouse gases by rich nations of at least 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12. Spain was allowed to expand emissions by 15 percent above 1990 levels because it was not then deemed fully industrialised.
Spain's government has said it plans to offset another 2 percent points of the excess by investing in carbon-capturing forests and another 20 points by by emissions rights from less industrialised countries.
That means Spain aims to comply with Kyoto by holding emissions at 37 percent above 1990 levels. Comisiones Obreras noted that emissions were still almost six points above that target and would thus have to be much lower by the end of 2012 to average out at 37 percent.
Comisiones environment spokesman Llorenc Serrano said it was likely that emissions would fall again in 2009 due to Spain's economic recession and renewable energy generating an increasing share of Spain's electricity.
Renewable sources provided 30 percent of Spain's electricity in April, compared to 20.5 percent in 2008 as a whole.
"The challenge will be to keep emissions down when the economy begins to revive," Serrano told a news conference.
Spain's Industry Ministry estimates that energy consumption per head in the country is 20 percent above the European average and has launched several energy-saving programmes.

Guardian - Martin Roberts

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