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EU to beat 2020 targets on carbon

The European Union will cut its carbon emissions in 2020 by a bigger margin than it has pledged it would under United Nation climate change treaties, a meeting of the bloc’s environment ministers was told on Wednesday.

“Europe will be overachieving in 2020,” Hans Bruyninckx, the executive director of the European Environment Agency, said after presenting his organization’s findings to ministers and European Commission officials in Athens.

The EU has unilaterally pledged under the U.N. Kyoto Protocol for Climate Change to reduce its emissions to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. The bloc has almost met that target and now expects to beat it easily by 2020.

“For the year 2020, total emissions are projected to be 24.5 percent below base year levels,” it said in a document submitted to the U.N. on April 30.

Environmental campaigners welcomed the lower emissions but said the achievement must still be followed by setting deeper targets.

“Without targets and new policies, there is no guarantee that circumstances won’t change and emissions rise back up,” said Wendel Trio of green group coalition CAN Europe.

The ministers were meeting ahead of next month’s resumption of U.N. climate talks in Bonn, Germany, when nations with Kyoto targets had agreed to review their commitments under the pact.

EU member states remain split over how to meet an even more ambitious commission proposal to cut carbon emissions by 40 percent in 2030, the bloc’s Greek EU Presidency said. The EU has pledged to agree on the 2030 targets and measures by October.