According to European Environment Agency data, the EU soared past its 2020 carbon cutting goal six years earlier. Greenhouse gas emissions in 2014 were 4.1% lower than they were in the previous year and 24.4% below the 1990 baseline. The 2020 target is a 20% cut.
The biggest savings were in manufacturing, power generation and home heating (helped by a warm winter). They outweighed increases in CO2 from road transport and potent warming HFC gases from air conditioners and fridges.
According to EEA chief Hans Bruyninckx, in order to accelerate the transition towards a low-carbon society, there is a need to further boost investments in technology and innovation aimed at reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
Another milestone has been set for a 40% cut by 2030 which campaigners warned was not ambitious enough to sustain the pace.