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EU’s carbon dioxide emissions ‘rose by 1.8% last year’

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EU’s carbon dioxide emissions ‘rose by 1.8% last year’

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Campaigners have called on EU countries to step up their game after new figures suggested a rise in carbon dioxide emissions.

Estimates published by Eurostat on Friday indicated there was a 1.8% rise in CO2 last year.

Malta, Estonia and Bulgaria registered the highest rises in 2017 compared with a year earlier, while Finland, Denmark and the United Kingdom were among the countries with the biggest falls.

But the overall picture is rosier: By 2016, the EU had reduced CO2 emissions by around 23% compared with 1990 levels.

So, even with the latest estimates, the EU is still on track to meet a target to make a 20% reduction by 2020.

Brussels wants to make a 40% cut by 2030.

Roland Joebstl, policy officer for energy and climate at the European Environmental Bureau told Euronews: “Alarm bells went off when we saw the Eurostat numbers.

“It’s proof that the time is running out to deliver the Paris agreement. European member states have avoided meaningful targets and strong instruments for 2020, and now are about to repeat the same mistake for 2030.

“This happens despite the impacts of climate change are already being felt in flooding and freak weather events and new record high concentration of atmospheric CO2 every year.

“It clearly shows how essential a speed-up of EU action and strict enforcement is.

“It’s time for those countries to step up the pressure on the negotiations table, be it for the 2030 renewables and energy efficiency targets, be it on the new Commission proposal for the future EU budget, which is still not climate proof and risks locking in inaction.”

The estimates come after climate ministers from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Portugal and Luxembourg called for more ambition from the EU to meet its climate commitments.

Brussels this week signalled it wanted to spend more on climate change commitments in the 2021-2027 budget period.

Proposals published on Wednesday called for spending on climate adaptation and mitigation to increase to €320 billion.