Wind helps bring first fall in emissions for years

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Spanish wind power, combined with government measures reducing energy intensity, contributed to cutting the country's annual greenhouse gas emissions for the first time in over a decade, albeit by very little. The government reported a drop in emissions of 1.7 percentage points over 2006 to finish 2007 at 50.4% above 1990 levels, the base-year of the Kyoto International Protocol on Climate Change. Spain's national commitment is to cap the increase at 15% by 2010, a target looking increasingly impossible to meet. Spain is the European country furthest from reaching its Kyoto commitments. The recently re-elected government is claiming the sudden downward trend is the direct result of measures introduced since its previous term started in 2004. According to calculations by national wind association Asociación Empresarial Eólica (AEE), the 26,407 GWh of wind power generation in 2007 accounted for 18 million tons of avoided CO2 emissions. As a measuring rod, that is equivalent to 5.5% of annual CO2 emissions in 2006. Over the period 2005-2010, AEE expects wind to offset 127 million tons of CO2 emissions, equivalent to 9.7% of Spain's targeted emissions reductions under the Kyoto protocol. Even that target is now well out of reach.

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