Total greenhouse gas emissions trends and projections

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-37-en
Also known as: CSI 010 , CLIM 050
Created 15 Jun 2016 Published 21 Jun 2016 Last modified 21 Jun 2016, 11:39 AM
Topics: ,
In 2014, EU-28 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were 24.4 % below 1990 levels (excluding Land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) and international aviation). The figure is 23 % if international aviation is included.   The Emissions Trading System (ETS) covers about 42 % of EU emissions. In 2014, ETS emissions were 24 % below 2005 levels. In sectors not covered by the ETS, GHG emissions decreased by 12.9 % compared to 2005.  In 2013, all Member States where below their Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) target.  The 2014 data seem to confirm this trend across the EU. The EU is on track to reduce GHG emissions  by 20 % compared to 1990 by 2020.

Key messages

  • In 2014, EU-28 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were 24.4 % below 1990 levels (excluding Land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) and international aviation). The figure is 23 % if international aviation is included.  
  • The Emissions Trading System (ETS) covers about 42 % of EU emissions. In 2014, ETS emissions were 24 % below 2005 levels.
  • In sectors not covered by the ETS, GHG emissions decreased by 12.9 % compared to 2005. 
  • In 2013, all Member States where below their Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) target. The 2014 data seem to confirm this trend across the EU.
  • The EU is on track to reduce GHG emissions  by 20 % compared to 1990 by 2020.

What is the progress in Europe towards international commitments regarding GHG emissions?

Sectoral greenhouse gas emissions by IPCC sector

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Absolute change from 1990
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Emissions share per main sectors in 2014
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Fig. 1 reflects the historic trends and projected progress of European countries since 1990.

According to the latest official data published by the EEA in June 2016, GHG emissions in the EU-28 in 2014 amounted to 4 286 million tonnes CO2-equivalent (Mt CO2-eq) (4 421 Mt if CO2 from international aviation is included), reaching their lowest level since 1990.

GHG emissions decreased in most sectors between 1990 and 2014, with the exception of transport (including international transport), and refrigeration and air-conditioning (Fig. 2).

At an aggregate level, the biggest share of the emissions reductions during this 24-year period is split almost equally between industry and energy supply (jointly more than 1 000 Mt of emissions reductions). A combination of factors explain lower emissions in industrial sectors. These include improved efficiency in restructured iron and steel plants, substantial improvements in carbon intensity, and structural changes to the economy with a higher share of services and a lower share of more intensive industry in the total activity of this sector. The economic recession that started in the second half of 2008 and continued through to 2009 also had a substantial impact on emissions. For energy supply, improvements in the transformation efficiency of electricity and heat production, and the move towards less carbon intensive fuels at EU level have been the main reasons for the 28 % reduction of emissions. Important emissions reductions have been also achieved in the residential and commercial sectors, and agriculture.

On the negative side, CO2 emissions from road transportation increased by more than 120 Mt in this period; emissions increased steadily between 1990 and 2007, before decreasing until 2013 and increasing again in 2014. The overall increase was fully accounted for by a strong uptake of diesel and a decline in gasoline use. International aviation and shipping have also seen increased emissions since 1990, up by 97 % and 24 % respectively. Total transport, including international bunkers, accounts for about a quarter of GHG emissions in the EU. The second largest increase in the EU emissions came from hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. This is the only group of gases with increased emissions since 1990.

CO2 emissions from biomass combustion have also increased significantly since 1990. These emissions, together with the net LULUCF emissions and/or removals, are not included in the national GHG emissions totals, in line with the UNFCCC Reporting Guidelines, but are reported as a memorandum item. Their increase highlights the rapidly increasing importance of bioenergy in replacing fossil fuel sources.

Between 2013 and 2014, GHG emissions in the EU-28 decreased by 4.1 % and accounted for a net reduction of 185 Mt CO2-eq (183 Mt if international aviation is included). The decrease in total GHG emissions was driven by emissions reductions in the energy sector, particularly in electricity and heat production, and in the residential and commercial sectors. This was due to the warmer conditions in Europe in 2014 as well as to the increase in non-combustible renewables used for electricity generation.

A detailed analysis of the 1990-2014 changes in GHG emissions is provided in the EEA technical paper ‘Analysis of key trends and drivers in greenhouse gas emissions in the EU between 1990 and 2014’.

According to the latest ‘Trends and Projections’ report, published in October 2015, emissions are expected to continue to decrease to levels between 24 % and 25 % below those of 1990, which is below the EU's 20 % unilateral reduction target. Projections beyond 2020 show further decreases in EU GHG emissions. However, Member States expect that the pace of these reductions will slow down. Planned reductions will only bring EU emissions down to levels between 27 % and 30 % below those of 1990 by 2030. This is insufficient to achieve the 40 % reduction target for 2030.

What is the progress in Europe towards domestic (internal) commitments regarding GHG emissions?

EU Trends in ETS and non-ETS emissions

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Distance from non-ETS emissions to ESD targets

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EU progress towards the 2020 targets

Under the ‘Climate and Energy Package’, adopted in 2009, the EU committed to a unilateral emissions reduction target of 20 % by 2020 compared to 1990, which corresponds to a 14 % decrease from 2005 levels. The main two instruments for achieving this target are:

  1.  the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), which includes a sub-target of a 21 % reduction in emissions by 2020 compared to 2005 levels;
  2.  the Effort Sharing Decision (ESD), which defines national targets for non ETS sectors (mainly households and services, emissions from transport, waste and agriculture) and includes an EU sub-target of a 10 % reduction in emissions by 2020 compared to 2005 levels.

 

In 2014, total EU GHG emissions under the scope of the EU's climate and energy package (including international aviation) are estimated to be 23 % below 1990 levels. Between 2005 and 2014, emissions covered by the EU ETS (which represents about 42 % of total EU GHG emissions) decreased by 24 % (more than 560 Mt CO2-eq), while GHG emissions not covered by the ETS decreased by almost 13 % during the same period (Fig. 3). 

The ETS sectors that experienced particularly large emissions decreases are cement clinker and lime. Emissions reductions from combustion installations, which represent more than 70 % of all ETS emissions and are dominated by electricity generation, are largely due to changes in the mix of fuels used to produce heat and electricity; while the use of hard coal and lignite fuels in electricity generation declined in this period, electricity generation from renewables increased considerably. The reduction in emissions may also have benefited from improvements in transformation efficiency for electricity generation, which means that less primary energy was necessary to generate a constant quantity of electricity. The cement, lime and iron and steel sectors follow similar trends, with emissions increasing until 2007 and then decreasing. These emissions reductions were, to a large extent, driven by reduced production due to the economic crisis.  

The progress of the ETS sector towards its 2020 target is further analysed in the 2015 annual EEA technical report 'Trends and Projections in the EU ETS' .

Progress of EU countries towards their ESD targets

Under the ESD, Member States are required to limit those GHG emissions that are not covered by the EU ETS for the period 2013 and 2020, by meeting binding annual limits. The annual targets – known as annual emissions allocations - follow a straight line between a defined starting point in 2013 and the target for 2020.

The assessment of current progress towards the ESD targets compares the non-ETS emissions of each year with the annual national targets. According to the latest estimates by the EEA carried out in October 2015, in 2013 all Member States were below their national ESD targets. The 2014 data seem to confirm this trend across the EU (Fig. 4).

National projections show that in most Member States, ESD emissions will remain below annual ESD targets until 2020. However, in four Member States (Austria, Belgium, Ireland and Luxembourg) emissions in 2020 could exceed targets if no additional measures are implemented.

In the second half of 2016, a better evaluation of progress to the 2020 targets will be performed on the basis of the latest information reported by Member States. The results of this evaluation, including a detailed assessment of progress towards climate and energy targets in the EU will be presented in the EEA’s 'Trends and Projections in Europe 2016' report. 

Indicator specification and metadata

Indicator definition

The present indicator (CSI010) presents total and sectoral trends of anthropogenic GHG emissions in Europe from 1990 onwards and assesses the progress of the EU, individual Member States and other EEA countries towards their international and internal EU GHG targets.

The indicator provides information on emissions from the main anthropogenic GHG sources, distributed by the main emitting sectors and based on IPCC nomenclature. In addition, the indicator shows past and projected GHG emissions in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and non-ETS/Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) sectors, in accordance with the EU legal scheme. As a general rule, emissions from international aviation are included in the totals presented in the indicator, consistent with the EU legal scheme ('Domestic scope'). These emissions are not covered by the Kyoto Protocol (KP), in accordance with the UNFCCC guidelines, and therefore they are excluded from the totals under the EU's international reporting of GHG inventories ('International scope'). Unless otherwise mentioned, the indicator does not cover emissions from international shipping. Net land use, land use-change and forestry (LULUCF) emissions and/or removals and CO2 emissions from the combustion of biomass (including biofuels in transport) are not included in national GHG emissions totals according to UNFCCC Reporting Guidelines.

The indicator covers all 28 Member States of the European Union. The Member States geographical coverage considered is consistent with the EU coverage under the Kyoto Protocol. When available, information concerning other EEA Member States is also included. Especially when referring to the second commitment period of the KP, the European aggregates are presented for the 28 Member States and Iceland, since the European Union, its Member States and Iceland have agreed to fulfill their quantified emissions limitation and reduction commitments jointly.

The indicator covers annual emissions since 1990.

Units

This indicator expressed GHG emissions in 'million tonnes CO2-equivalent' (Mt CO2-eq.)


Policy context and targets

Context description

The UNFCCC sets an ultimate objective of stabilising GHG concentrations 'at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human induced) interference with the climate system.' It also requires precise and regularly updated inventories of GHG from industrialised countries. 

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the UNFCCC, which sets binding targets for industrialised countries and the European Union for reducing GHGs. It runs over two commitment periods; the first started in 2008 and ended in 2012, whereas the second started in 2013 and will end in 2020. The EU and its Member States have signed up to the Protocol. 

The European Union, as a party to the UNFCCC and to the Protocol, reports annually on the GHG emissions within the area covered by its Member States. The Annual European Union greenhouse gas inventory and inventory report, officially submitted to the UNFCCC Secretariat, is prepared on behalf of the European Commission (DG Clima) by the EEA and its European Topic Centre for Air and Climate Mitigation (ETC/ACM), supported by the Joint Research Centre and Eurostat.

In 2007, EU leaders committed to a 20 % reduction of EU GHG emissions by 2020 on the basis of the 1990 GHG emissions (14 % decrease in GHG emissions between 2005 and 2020). The EU has also committed to increase the share of renewable energy in the EU's final energy consumption to 20 % (with a minimum 10 % share in the transport sector), and to save 20 % of the EU’s energy consumption through increased energy efficiency (“20-20-20” objective).

The EU 2020 Climate and Energy Package, adopted in 2009, sets a two-fold legislative framework to achieve the 20 % GHG emissions reduction objective: a 21 % reduction of emissions covered under the EU ETS compared to 2005 levels, to be achieved across the whole EU, and an effort to reduce emissions not covered by the EU ETS by about 10 % compared to 2005 levels, shared between the EU-28 Member States through differentiated annual national GHG targets under the Effort Sharing Decision (ESD).

Building on the 2020 climate and energy package, the European Council recently adopted the 2030 climate and energy framework, which sets a target of a 40 % reduction in GHG emissions compared to 1990 as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency targets of at least 27 % by 2030. The 2030 framework is an EU priority, which follows the Paris Agreement and is consistent with the longer term objective of the ‘2050 low-carbon economy roadmap’, which sets the EU ambition to reduce its GHG emissions by 80 % compared to 1990, with milestones of 40 % by 2030 and 60 % by 2040.

The current indicator aims to present an assessment of the EU's progress and that of individual countries towards their international and national targets under the Kyoto Protocol (in both commitment periods: 2008-2012 and 2013-2020) and under the ESD respectively. The indicator is based on the official GHG inventories submitted by the EEA countries and the EU to the UNFCC, as well as on the projected GHG emissions submitted by the Member States under the Monitoring Mechanism Regulation (Regulation 525/2013, MMR). In order to calculate the distance to the national ESD targets, emissions reported in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) are also taken into account.

 

 

Targets

First commitment period (CP1), 2008-2012

For the first commitment period (2008-2012), the 15 States that were EU members in 1997, when the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, took on an 8 % reduction from base year target that has been redistributed among themselves, taking advantage of a scheme under the Protocol known as a “bubble”, whereby countries have different individual targets, which combined make an overall target for that group of countries. The differentiated targets are set out in Annex II to the Council Decision 2002/358/EC concerning the approval, on behalf of the European Community, of the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC and the joint fulfillment of commitments thereunder.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, the other (non EU-15) Member States (apart from Cyprus and Malta) have individual targets. Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovak Republic and Slovenia have reduction targets of 8 % from the base year, while Hungary and Poland have reduction targets of 6 % and Croatia has a reduction target of 5 %. Of the additional EEA member countries, Norway and Iceland are allowed to increase emissions under the Kyoto Protocol by 1 % and 10 %, respectively, from their base-year emissions. Switzerland and Liechtenstein have reduction targets of 8 %. Turkey is a Party to the Kyoto Protocol but has no reduction target. 

Second commitment period (CP2), 2013-2020

The EU, its 28 Member States and Iceland agreed to a joint quantified emissions reduction commitment of 80 % under the Kyoto Protocol's second commitment period (2013-2020). This is equivalent to a 20 % reduction compared to base-year levels. The ‘initial report’ of EU and Iceland (EU-KP) will contain the assigned amount for the second commitment period, as calculated by the Party and will be submitted to the UNFCCC in 2016. 

EU GHG targets for 2020

The unilateral 20% GHG reduction target, in the context of the EU Climate and Energy Package, corresponds to a 14 % decrease of emissions between 2005 and 2020. The target is to be achieved both in the sectors covered by the EU ETS (21 % reduction of EU ETS emissions compared to 2005 levels) and in the other sectors covered by national emissions targets under the ESD.

The ESD targets used in the indicator are consistent with the EU ETS scope for the third trading period (2013–2020), based on Commission Decision 2013/162/EU of 26 March 2013 on determining Member States' annual emissions allocations for the period from 2013 to 2020 pursuant to Decision No 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 90, 28.3.2013, p. 106–110) and Commission Implementing Decision 2013/634/EU of 31 October 2013 on the adjustments to Member States’ annual emissions allocations for the period from 2013 to 2020, pursuant to Decision No 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 292, 1.11.2013, p. 19–22).

The ESD targets (2020 percentage target compared to 2005, and annual absolute targets consistent with the 2013-2020 ETS scope and GWPs from the IPCC AR4) are presented in the table below:

Country

2020 Target (%)

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Austria

-16%

52.63

52.08

51.53

50.99

50.44

49.90

49.35

48.80

Belgium

-15%

78.38

76.85

75.32

73.79

72.26

70.74

69.21

67.68

Bulgaria

20%

26.93

27.20

27.47

27.73

28.00

28.27

28.54

28.80

Croatia

11%

19.61

19.81

20.00

20.19

20.38

20.57

20.76

20.95

Cyprus

-5%

5.92

5.92

5.93

5.93

5.93

5.94

5.94

5.94

Czech Republic

9%

62.47

63.21

63.95

64.69

65.43

66.17

66.91

67.65

Denmark

-20%

36.83

35.93

35.02

34.12

33.21

32.31

31.41

30.50

Estonia

11%

6.30

6.32

6.35

6.37

6.39

6.42

6.44

6.47

Finland

-16%

31.78

31.29

30.80

30.31

29.82

29.34

28.85

28.36

France

-14%

394.08

389.46

384.43

379.40

374.38

369.35

364.32

359.29

Germany

-14%

472.53

465.83

459.13

452.44

445.74

439.04

432.34

425.65

Greece

-4%

58.96

59.28

59.61

59.94

60.26

60.59

60.92

61.24

Hungary

10%

50.40

51.52

52.63

53.75

54.87

55.99

57.10

58.22

Ireland

-20%

46.89

45.76

44.63

43.50

42.37

41.24

40.11

38.97

Italy

-13%

308.16

306.20

304.23

302.27

300.30

298.34

296.38

294.41

Latvia

17%

9.26

9.35

9.44

9.53

9.62

9.72

9.81

9.90

Lithuania

15%

12.94

13.30

13.66

14.02

14.38

14.74

15.10

15.46

Luxembourg

-20%

9.54

9.34

9.14

8.94

8.74

8.54

8.34

8.14

Malta

5%

1.17

1.17

1.17

1.16

1.16

1.16

1.16

1.16

Netherlands

-16%

122.95

120.68

118.40

116.13

113.86

111.59

109.31

107.04

Poland

14%

193.64

194.89

196.13

197.37

198.61

199.86

201.10

202.34

Portugal

1%

49.31

49.59

49.86

50.14

50.41

50.69

50.97

51.24

Romania

19%

75.63

77.45

79.27

81.10

82.92

84.74

86.56

88.38

Slovakia

13%

24.02

24.38

24.74

25.10

25.46

25.82

26.18

26.54

Slovenia

4%

12.32

12.35

12.38

12.41

12.44

12.47

12.50

12.53

Spain

-10%

227.56

225.65

223.73

221.82

219.90

217.99

216.07

214.16

Sweden

-17%

41.69

41.04

40.40

39.76

39.12

38.48

37.84

37.20

United Kingdom

-16%

358.74

354.22

349.70

345.18

340.66

336.14

331.62

327.10

EU GHG targets post 2020

In October 2015, the European Council adopted the ‘2030 climate and energy framework’, setting a binding target to cut emissions in EU territory by at least 40 % below 1990 levels by 2030. To achieve this target of at least 40%:

  • EU-ETS sectors would have to cut emissions by 43 % (compared to 2005)
  • non-ETS sectors would need to cut emissions by 30 % (compared to 2005)

 

The 2030 framework is consistent with the longer-term objective of the ‘2050 low-carbon economy roadmap’, which sets the EU ambition to reduce its GHG emissions by 80 % compared to 1990, with milestones of 40 % by 2030 and 60 % by 2060. It is also a milestone for the EU’s contribution to the Paris Agreement, which was adopted in December 2015.

Related policy documents

  • Commission Decision 2013/162/EU
    Commission Decision of 26 March 2013 on determining Member States’ annual emission allocations for the period from 2013 to 2020 pursuant to Decision No 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council
  • Commission Implementing Decision 2013/634/EU
    Commission Implementing Decision of 31 October 2013 on the adjustments to Member States’ annual emission allocations for the period from 2013 to 2020 pursuant to Decision No 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council
  • Council Decision (2002/358/EC) of 25 April 2002
    Council Decision (2002/358/EC) of 25 April 2002 concerning the approval, on behalf of the European Community, of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the joint fulfilment of commitments thereunder.
  • Decision No 406/2009/EC (Effort Sharing Decision)
    Decision No 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the effort of Member States to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to meet the Community’s greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments up to 2020
  • European Council 23-24/10/2014 - Conclusions on 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework
    Conclusions on 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework The European Council endorsed 4 targets: - a binding EU target of 40% less greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 - a target of at least 27% renewable energy consumption - a 27% energy efficiency increase - the completion of the internal energy market by achieving the existing electricity interconnection target of 10% and linking the energy islands - in particular the Baltic states and the Iberian Peninsula On energy security, the European Council endorsed further measures to reduce the EU's energy dependence and increase the security of its electricity and gas supplies.
  • Greenhouse gas monitoring mechanism Decision
    Decision No 280/2004/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 concerning a mechanism for monitoring Community greenhouse gas emissions and for implementing the Kyoto Protocol
  • Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
    Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; adopted at COP3 in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997
  • Monitoring Mechanism Regulation 525/2013
    REGULATION (EU) No 525/2013 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 21 May 2013 on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and for reporting other information at national and Union level relevant to climate change and repealing Decision No 280/2004/EC
  • Paris Agreement
    The Paris Agreement. Report of the Conference of the Parties on its twenty-first session, held in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015.
  • Presidency conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 8/9 March 2007
    Presidency conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 8/9 March 2007
  • UNFCCC
    UNFCCC reporting guidelines on annual inventories

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

This indicator is based on the official GHG inventories submitted by the EEA countries to the EEA, as well as on the projected GHG emissions submitted by the Member States under the Monitoring Mechanism Regulation (Regulation 525/2013, MMR). The official EU GHG inventory submitted by the EU to the UNFCCC is based on the same data and is also used. The EU ETS emissions, as provided to the European Commission, are also used. When available, approximate estimates of the GHG emissions for the year (X-1) are also presented.

More information on the datasets used is given in the paragraphs below.

GHG gases

In line with the UNFCCC reporting guidelines on annual inventories, the national inventories cover emissions and removals of the following GHGs:

- carbon dioxide (CO2), including indirect CO2;

- methane (CH4);

- nitrous oxide (N2O);

- hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs);

- perfluorocarbons (PFCs);

- suphur hexafluoride (SF6); and

- nitrogen trifluoride (NF3)

from six sectors (Energy, Industrial processes and product use, Agriculture, LULUCF, Waste and Other).

The gases do not include the greenhouse gases that are also ozone-depleting substances, which are controlled by the Montreal Protocol (see CSI 006).

Emissions from LULUCF are not included in total GHG emissions presented in the indicator. Due to this, CO2 emissions from the combustion of biomass (including biofuels in transport) are also reported as a memorandum item to avoid double counting of emissions from a reporting perspective. These emissions are not covered by the Kyoto Protocol (KP), in accordance with the UNFCCC guidelines, and therefore they are excluded from the totals under the EU's international reporting of GHG inventories ('International scope'). Unless otherwise mentioned, the indicator does not cover emissions from maritime transport.

In order to be aggregated, non-CO2 gases are weighed by their respective global warming potential (GWP) and presented in CO2-equivalent units. Global warming potential (GWP) is a measure of how much a given mass of a GHG is estimated to contribute to global warming on a 100-year horizon.

In accordance with the UNFCCC rules, the GWP values used in this indicator are the ones from IPCC AR4:

Gas

Global warming potential (GWP), values from IPCC AR2

[before 2015]

Global warming potential (GWP), values from IPCC AR4

[after 2015]

carbon dioxide (CO2)

1

1

methane (CH4)

21

25

nitrous oxide (N2O)

310

298

sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)

23900

22800

nitrogen trifluoride (NF3)

_

17200


HFCs and PFCs comprise a large number of different gases that have different GWPs. The full list of GWPs can be found at the following URL: IPCC AR 4: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch2s2-10-2.html#table-2-14

GHG inventories

For the preparation of their national inventories, countries use the methodologies of the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.

Parties have also agreed to use the formats indicated in Decision 24/CP.19. According to this, the reporting of GHG emissions is allocated in six sectors (Energy, Industrial processes and product use, Agriculture, LULUCF, Waste and Other).

In the indicator, GHG emissions are attributed to the main emitting sectors at a disaggregated level, based on the IPCC definition of source categories and the common reporting format (CRF) followed by Parties. For this, the following categories are referenced:

  • Energy supply (CRF category 1.A.1 (including emissions from public electricity and heat production, petroleum refining and manufacture of solid fuel and other energy industries) and 1.B (‘Fugitives’))
  • Industry (CRF category 1.A.2 (‘manufacturing industries and construction’, referring to emissions from fossil fuel combustion in industries for energy use) and CRF sector 2 (‘Industrial Processes and Product use’))
  • Transport (CRF category 1.A.3, including road transportation)
  • Residential & Commercial (CRF category 1.A.4.a and 1.A.4.b, referring to emissions from the households and commercial sectors)
  • Agriculture (CRF category 1.A.4.c, referring to emissions from the energy use in agriculture, forestry and fisheries and CRF sector 3 (‘Agriculture’))
  • LULUCF (CRF Sector 4)
  • Waste (CRF Sector 5)
  • International aviation (CRF category 1.D.1.a)
  • International shipping (CRF category 1.D.1.b)
  • CO2 emissions from biomass

 

Projected GHG emissions

For the projected GHG emissions, information submitted by the EEA countries under the MMR is used. The projected GHG emissions referred to in the indicator are the ones reported under the ‘existing measures’ scenario (WEM) and the ‘additional measures’ scenario (WAM).

ETS emissions

Emissions from the EU ETS are also presented in the indicator. The EU ETS runs over three trading periods: Phase I (2005-2007), Phase II (2008-2012) and Phase III (2013-2020).

In 2013, the scope of the EU ETS was expanded to include additional references to (a) the capture, transport and geological storage of GHG emissions; (b) CO2 emissions from petrochemical, ammonia and aluminium production; (c) N2O emissions from the production of nitric, adipidic and glyoxylic acids; and (d) PFC emissions from aluminium production. Since 1st January 2012, aviation has also been part of the EU ETS.

Since 2013, these emissions have been calculated by the plant operators that fall under the ETS obligations in line with Regulation No 601/2012, whereas in  Phase II of the EU ETS (2008-2012), the  monitoring and reporting of the operators was based on Commission Decision 2004/156/EU.

Croatia entered the EU ETS Scheme on 1 January 2013.

Approximated GHG inventory

Finally, whenever relevant, this indicator uses data and estimates from the ‘Approximated GHG inventory’ for the year (X-1). These ‘proxy’ inventories are reported by Member States to the EEA and to the Commission under the MMR by 31 July of each year, X, and are calculated at an aggregated level on the basis of the national and international information available for the year (X-1).


Methodology for gap filling

GHG inventories (years 1990-(X-2)):

The historic emissions data presented in the indicator are based on the information reported by Member States under the MMR. However, in case a Member State does not submit the inventory data required to compile the EU inventory, the Commission shall prepare estimates to complete the GHG inventories submitted by Member States in consultation and close cooperation with the Member States concerned. In this case, the Member State shall use the gap-filled inventory in its official submission to the UNFCCC. The basis for these gap-filling processes is described in the Commission Delegated Regulation of 12.03.2014  (http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/g-gas/monitoring/docs/c_2014_1539_en.pdf )

Approximated GHG inventory (year X-1):

Under the MMR, the Commission shall also estimate a Member State’s approximated GHG inventory if the Member State does not provide it. These estimates are provided by the EEA and are country-specific. More information on the methodology used for the gap-filling is provided in the ‘Approximated GHG inventory report’ of each year.

Projected GHG emissions (year X – 2035):

In order to ensure the timeliness, completeness, consistency, comparability, accuracy and transparency of the reporting of projections by the EU and its Member States, the quality of the reported projections is assessed by the ETC/ACM on behalf of the EEA. As the Member States’ reporting of projections is carried out every two years by countries, in certain cases, projections are adjusted to ensure full consistency with historic GHG emissions data from the latest GHG inventories. Where a country has not made a submission, data are gap-filled by the ETC/ACM.

Methodology references

  • Annual European Union greenhouse gas inventory and inventory report All the data used to prepare the indicator are consistent with the latest EU GHG national inventory report (NIR). The main institutions involved in the compilation of the EU GHG inventory are the Member States, the European Commission’s Directorates-General Climate Action (DG CLIMA), Eurostat, the Joint Research Centre and the European Environment Agency (EEA) and its European Topic Centre on Air Pollution and Climate Change Mitigation (ETC/ACM). This report is compiled on the basis of the inventories of the EU Member States for the EU-28 (consistent with the EU geographical scope under the UNFCCC), and the EU-28 and Iceland, consistent with the EU's geographical scope under the Kyoto Protocol). The EU GHG inventory is the direct sum of the national inventories. For the EU reference approach, energy data from Eurostat are used for CO 2 emissions from fossil fuels. 
  • 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories The 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories are the latest step in the IPCC development of inventory guidelines for national estimates of GHGs. These 2006 Guidelines build on the previous Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines and the subsequent Good Practice reports. They include new sources and gases as well as updates to the previously published methods whenever scientific and technical knowledge have improved since the previous guidelines were issued. From 2015, UNFCCC Parties will have to use the 2006 IPCC Guidelines' methodologies and reporting formats when preparing their inventories, in line with the UNFCCC reporting guidelines (Decision 24/CP.19).
  • UNFCCC reporting guidelines on annual inventories This document contains the complete updated UNFCCC reporting guidelines on annual inventories for all inventory sectors. It aims to assist Annex I Parties in meeting their commitments under the Convention and in preparing to meet their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.
  • Commission Regulation (EU) No 601/2012 Commission Regulation (EU) No 601/2012  of 21 June 2012  on the monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions pursuant to Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council. The regulation sets out the rules for the monitoring and reporting of ETS emissions by plant operators, covering the scope of Phase III of the ETS.
  • IPCC Forth Assessment Report (AR4) At regular intervals, the (IPCC)  prepares comprehensive  Assessment Reports  of scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of human induced climate change, the potential impacts of climate change and options for mitigation and adaptation. Four Assessment Reports have been completed in 1990, 1995, 2001 and 2007. The Fourth Assessment Report 'Climate Change 2007' (AR4) is composed of four volumes and various contributions. The AR4 Synthesis Report is based on the assessment carried out by the three Working Groups of the IPCC. It provides an integrated view of climate change as the final part of the AR4. It is written in a non-technical style suitable for policymakers. It is composed of a longer report and a  Summary for Policymakers . The GWP of the AR4 can be found here .

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

GHG inventories

(a) Difference of methodologies between countries

Since Member States use different national methodologies, national activity data or country-specific emissions factors in accordance with IPCC and UNFCCC guidelines, these different methodologies are reflected in the EU GHG inventory data. The EU believes that it is consistent with the UNFCCC reporting guidelines and the 2006 IPCCC guidelines to use different methodologies for one source category across the EU territory, especially if this helps to reduce the uncertainty and improve the consistency of the emissions data, provided that each methodology is consistent with the 2006 IPCC guidelines. At the same time, the EU is making an effort to promote and support the use of higher tier methodologies across Member States. At EU level, and for most of the key categories of the EU inventory, more than 75 % of the EU-KP emissions are calculated using higher tier methodologies, resulting in lower uncertainty rates.

(b) GWP

According to the IPCC, the GWP values used in the IPCC AR4 have an uncertainty of ±35 % for the 5 % to 95 % (90 %) confidence range.

Projected GHG emissions

The methodology proposed consists of simple additions of data reported by Member States. However, uncertainty arises from the following:

  • projections can be subject to updates that might not be reflected in the assessment if these updates were recently made;
  • the projections taken into account are fully consistent with Member State submissions under the MMR. However, other sets of projections with different data might have been published by countries (e.g. national allocation plans, national communications to UNFCCC).

Several countries carry out sensitivity analyses on their projections.

Approximated GHG inventory

The uncertainty ranges estimated in the approximated GHG inventories are derived by comparing the official national data submitted to the UNFCCC in year X with the proxy estimates of the same year. The uncertainty for the approximated emissions at EU level is estimated as the weighted mean of the differences described: weighted again by the relative contribution that each Member State makes to total EU-28 emissions. More details about these methodologies are provided each year in the ‘Approximated GHG inventory report’.

Data sets uncertainty


The 2006 IPCC Guidelines provide approaches on how Parties should estimate uncertainties, suggesting different values for the uncertainty of activity data and emissions factors for most of the emissions source categories. On the basis of this guidance, EU Member States and other EEA countries perform their own assessment of the uncertainty of reported data and provide an uncertainty analysis in the National Inventory Report to account for uncertainty per source category, as well as the total uncertainty of their national inventory.

The annual EU GHG inventory report provides a section (1.7) on the uncertainty evaluation, describing the methodology used to estimate it. The results suggest that the uncertainty level in the EU is about 6 % for total GHG emissions (including LULUCF). 

Total EU-28 GHG emission trends are likely to be more accurate than individual absolute annual emissions estimates, because the annual values are not independent of each other. The IPCC suggests that the uncertainty in total GHG emissions trends is ~ 4 % - 5%. For the EU, the trend uncertainty estimated is close to 1 %. Total GHG emissions estimates are quite reliable and the limited number of interpolations used to build the indicator do not introduce much uncertainty at the EU level.

Uncertainties in the projections of GHG emissions can be significant but have not been assessed. 

 

Rationale uncertainty

 The IPCC AR4 (IPCC Fourth Assessment Report 'Climate Change 2007') emphasises that:

  • Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.
  • There is high agreement and much evidence that with current climate change mitigation policies and related sustainable development practices, global GHG emissions will continue to grow over the next few decades.
  • Continued GHG emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century.
  • Anthropogenic warming could lead to some impacts that are abrupt or irreversible, depending upon the rate and magnitude of the climate change.

Words in bold represent calibrated expressions of uncertainty and confidence. Relevant terms are explained in the Box 'Treatment of uncertainty' in the introduction to the AR4 Synthesis Report. In particular, 'very likely' corresponds to a probability of occurrence higher than 90 %. This uncertainty in specific outcomes is assessed using expert judgment and statistical analysis of a body of evidence (e.g. observations or model results).

The high confidence in the responsibility of anthropogenic GHG emissions for the warming of the climate system reemphasises the relevance of monitoring and assessing GHG emissions trends in Europe.

Data sources

Generic metadata

Topics:

Climate change Climate change (Primary topic)

Tags:
eu ghg inventory
DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 010
  • CLIM 050
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1990-2050
Geographic coverage:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Spyridoula Ntemiri

EEA Management Plan

2016 1.3.2 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled twice per year
Filed under:
European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100