UK leads Europe with year’s biggest cut to greenhouse gas emissions

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The UK delivered the biggest emissions cuts in the European Union last year, as the bloc reduced its greenhouse gases by 2.5 per cent overall, reports showed.

The European Environment Agency said the UK had made the biggest absolute reductions by cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 36 million tonnes in 2011, which accounted for six per cent of its total.

France cut emissions by 24 million tonnes, or five per cent.

Across the EU, nine countries have seen emissions rise between 2010 and 2011, with Bulgaria recording an 11 per cent increase, Lithuania a three per cent rise and Romania and increase of two per cent.

However the EEA said these countries had seen the deepest reductions since 1990.

While the economic crisis still gripping Europe played a part in driving down emissions, the EEA said the EU’s economy grew by 1.5 per cent in 2011 but emissions were reduced by 2.5 per cent.

A warm winter in most countries was a key factor in cutting emissions, as it reduced demand for fossil fuels for heating, the agency said.

Almost all European countries are individually on track to meet their commitments to cut emissions from 1990 levels under the international climate deal agreed in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol deal, the first phase of which ends this year