The United Kingdom and Sweden seem to be the only European signatories to the Kyoto Protocol to achieve their greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, while this seems unlikely for Italy and Spain.
The agreement signed at Kyoto in Japan in 1997 has been ratified by 155 countries and came into effect last February. Signatory European countries have thus committed to achieving by 2012 a total level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that is 8% lower than that of 1990. As a result of this commitment, the European Union considered it necessary to allocate the burden of this objective among the fifteen Member States. This objective can be negative (-21% for Germany), zero (0% for France) or positive (+ 15% for Spain). A positive goal means that a country is allowed to increase its GHG emissions compared to 1990 given its current economic development but up to a certain threshold only. The signatory countries must therefore put in place an energy policy consistent with the objectives. They must each submit an action plan with a precise timetable that must enable them to achieve these objectives.