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Greenhouse gas emissions drop in 2013 puts EU just shy of 2020 goal

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The European Union's environment agency says the bloc's greenhouse gas emissions dropped by nearly 2 percent last year, putting the EU very close to reaching its emissions target for 2020.

That goal is to reduce emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases by 20 percent compared to 1990 levels.

The European Environment Agency said Tuesday that emissions already have fallen 19 percent, meaning the 28-nation bloc is likely to exceed its target.

The EEA projected that 2020 emissions will be 21 percent or 24 percent lower than they were in 1990, depending on whether planned climate action is implemented in full.

However, Germany and Spain were among some countries that weren't on track to meet their national targets.

Most scientists agree the main cause of climate change is the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.

The EEA said the EU as a whole also was on track to meet its goals on getting 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydropower by 2020, and of improving energy efficiency by 20 percent.

Nine member states — Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Britain — are on track to meet targets for all three climate and energy policy objectives.

Just last week the EU set new goals for 2030: 40 percent emissions cuts, 27 percent renewables and a 27 percent reduction in energy consumption.

"The current projections for 2030 indicate that further efforts are required at national and EU level to keep the EU on track toward its new 2030 targets," the EEA said.

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