The latest IWR report from the Institut für Regenerative Energiewirtschaft, the German institute for renewable energy, has indicated that carbon dioxide emissions in Bulgaria for 2008 accounted for 52.8 million tons, which, when translated, means that Bulgaria is one of the few European countries to have actually achieved its targets under the designated Kyoto Protocol, Reuters reported on August 10.
Under the Kyoto terms, Bulgaria was obliged to accomplish an eight per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions based on 1990 output, when Bulgarian emissions were estimated at 75 million tons. But Bulgaria has done considerably better in that aspect because, according to the IWR report, emissions in Bulgaria have been slashed by as much as 30 per cent.
Judging by the IWR report, only two other European countries fared better than Bulgaria in tackling carbon emissions. Romania reduced its emissions by 44 per cent, whereas Lithuania slashed theirs by a staggering 53 per cent.
In spite of the effort, however, global carbon dioxide emissions in 2008 rose by 1.94 per cent, reaching year-on-year to 31.5 billion tons. Most Western European countries, by contrast, have had difficulties or have failed to reach their targets altogether.
Germany, which is the largest emitter in Europe, is supposed to shrink its emissions by 21 per cent by 2012, but until now has managed only 17 per cent. The second largest emitter in Europe, the United Kingdom, has so far achieved only a seven per cent reduction, out of the 12.5 per cent from its 1990 figures.
Some European countries, Austria for example, are faring considerably worse. The Austrian economy was supposed to shrink its 1990 emissions by 13 per cent, but instead it had increased them by 22 per cent, whereas France has also increased carbon emissions by three per cent. Greece, which was allowed to raise emissions by 25 per cent, has actually gone over the bar, and is now releasing over 35 per cent more carbon into the atmosphere.
The IWR report subsequently concluded that "Kyoto is not working out", as instead of decreasing, emissions are on the rise by 40 per cent from 1990 levels.
The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC), an international environmental treaty with the goal of achieving "stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system".
The objective of the Kyoto climate change conference was to establish a legally binding international agreement, whereby all participating nations commit themselves to tackling the issue of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. The target agreed upon was an average reduction of 5.2 per cent from 1990 levels by the year 2012.