BRUSSELS—The European Union will fulfill international promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, an official said Friday.
EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas made the comments as new figures showed many of the bloc's 27 member states lagging behind the 2012 target.
Dimas said overall emissions by the EU's 15 richer countries fell by 1.6 percent in 2007, from 2006 levels.
The 15 states are being asked to cut deeper than other 12 poorer member nations that joined the EU between 2004-2007 to meet the bloc's commitment under the Kyoto Protocol.
"We are going to achieve the targets, this is for certain," Dimas told reporters.
He said recent and steady reductions in emissions overall led him to conclude that the EU would meet its promises under the climate change accord.
But seven nations — Spain, Austria, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Finland and Italy — actually increased their carbon dioxide emissions since 1990, according to the latest statistics.
Spain increased its emissions just over 50 percent since 1990, Portugal 38 percent and Greece 25 percent.
But lucky for the EU, other countries like Germany, France and Britain continue to make deep cuts ensuring the entire bloc meets its commitments.
Dimas warned the laggard countries they could face fines if they fail to meet their individual targets under EU climate change rules.
"If they do not comply they have to pay," he said.
He suggested the EU would have to consider deeper emissions cuts for its transport sector in coming years to ensure that more long term cuts can be met.
The EU says the main reasons for falling emissions in 2007 was because of warmer weather and lower emissions from households and heavy industry.