Early estimates show a fall in greenhouse gas emissions of 2.5% across Europe in 2011, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA).
The latest figures indicate that further to the 2.5% decrease across the wider region, the EU-15 group of countries showed a 3.5% decrease compared with last year.
The calculations put the region well on track to meet its targets under the Kyoto Protocol, with EU-15 emissions 13.8% down on 1990 levels, while for the EU-27 the decrease is almost 17.5% down on 1990 emissions.
Under the terms of the agreement, the EU-15 must reduce emissions by 8% between 2008 and 2012 compared with the base year.
The actual decrease to date comes despite a small 1.5% growth in GDP across the region. But rather than any policy instruments, the EEA puts the fall down to a milder winter in 2011 leading to a lower heating demand.
The largest reduction in emissions came from Cyprus, which saw its emissions down 13% in 2011, followed by Belgium, Finland, and Denmark, all reporting falls of over 8%.
But the UK delivered the largest absolute cut in emissions with growing renewable energy investments and a slow economy driving a 6% reduction.
The less good news, however, is that the group of new EU members, EU-12, saw emissions rising, led by an 11% increase in Bulgaria and a 3% increase in Lithuania, as well as increases in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, Romania and Slovenia.
For further information:
Europe officially adopts energy efficiency targets (5-Oct)
EU greenhouse gas emissions fall 2.5% in 2011 despite growing GDP (10-Sept)
29 October 2012