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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Greenhouse gas emission trends / Greenhouse gas emission trends (CSI 010/CLIM 050) - Assessment published Mar 2009

Greenhouse gas emission trends (CSI 010/CLIM 050) - Assessment published Mar 2009

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Generic metadata

Topics:

Climate change Climate change (Primary topic)

Tags:
ghg emissions | soer2010 | csi | projection | climate change | greenhouse gases | climate | global warming | trends | economic sectors | kyoto protocol | emissions
DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 010
  • CLIM 050
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1990-2006
Geographic coverage:
Austria Belgium Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey United Kingdom
 
Contents
 

Key policy question: What progress has been made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Europe?

Key messages

According to first estimates by EEA for the year 2010, EU-27 greenhouse gas emissions increased by 2.4 % compared to 2009 (with a margin of error of +/- 0.3 %). This was due to the return to economic growth in many countries and a colder winter leading to an increased heating demand. However, the increase in emissions was contained by a move from coal to natural gas and the sustained strong growth in renewable energy generation. EU‑27 emissions were 15.5 % below the 1990 level. This 2010 increase follows a 7 % drop in 2009 (compared to 2008), largely due to the economic recession and the growth of renewable energy generation. Between 1990 and 2010, greenhouse gas emissions in the EU-27 decreased in all main emitting sectors except in the transport sector, where they increased considerably. In the EU-15, CO2 emissions from public electricity and heat production also increased.

In the EU-15, estimated 2010 GHG emissions increased by 2.3 % (+/– 0.7) compared to 2009. This implies that EU‑15 greenhouse gas emissions were approximately 10.6 % below the 1990 level in 2010 (1) or 10.7 % below the base-year level. The European Union remains well on track to achieve its Kyoto Protocol target (an 8% reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions compared to base-year level, to be achieved during the period from 2008 to 2012). 2010 emissions of all EU-12 Member States that have a Kyoto target were well below their Kyoto target, except in Slovenia.

A detailed assessment of progress towards Kyoto targets and 2020 targets in Europe is provided in EEA's 2011 report on Greenhouse gas emission trends and projections.

Annual emissions and five-year rolling average of EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions (1990-2006)

Note: The average greenhouse gas emission over five years is a rolling average of greenhouse gas emissions of the last five years

Data source:
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Gaps between 2006 emissions and Kyoto targets, relative to base-year emissions

Note: Countries are sorted by regional grouping (EU-15, EU-12, other EEA countries and Croatia) and ranked by gap between their 2006 emissions and their Kyoto target (without use of Kyoto mechanisms).

Data source:
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Key assessment

2006 greenhouse gas emissions

In 2006, total greenhouse gas emissions, excluding emission and removals from land-use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) were:

  • 5 143 million tonnes CO2-equivalent (Mt CO2-eq.) in the EU-27;
  • 4 151 Mt CO2-eq. in the pre-2004 EU Member States (EU-15);
  • 992 Mt CO2-eq. in the EU-12.

In 2006, the EU-15 accounted for 81 % of total EU-27 greenhouse gas emissions. The largest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU-27 were Germany (20 %), the United Kingdom (13 %), Italy (11 %), France (11 %) and Spain (8 %).

2005-2006 trends

Between 2005 and 2006, total greenhouse gas emissions, excluding LULUCF:

  • decreased by by 0.3 % (14 Mt CO2-eq.) in the EU-27;
  • decreased by 0.8 % (35 Mt CO2-eq.) in the EU-15;
  • increased by 2.2 % (21 Mt CO2-eq.) in the EU-12.

In absolute terms, emissions were reduced most in France (-14 Mt CO2-eq.) and Italy (-10 Mt CO2-eq.). In France, a shift in the production of public electricity and heat from fossil thermal power stations to hydropower was one of the main reasons for the decrease in emissions. In addition, emissions from households and services, manufacturing industries and agricultural soils declined substantially. In Italy, emission reductions were mainly achieved by abatement techniques in the adipic acid production and by a shift from fossil fuels to biomass in the household sector. Warm weather conditions had an additional positive impact on emissions from this sector.

Emissions increased most in Poland (+14 Mt CO2-eq.) and Finland (+11 Mt CO2-eq.). In Poland, emissions increased in public electricity and heat production, households, limestone and dolomite use and in road transport. Finnish emission increases mainly occurred in CO2 from electricity and heat production due to an increase in electricity generation from fossil thermal power stations and a decrease in electricity generation from hydropower plants. In Finland total exports of electricity in 2006 were about 3 times higher than in 2005, whereas total imports decreased by 21 %. Other EU-15 countries which saw emissions increase between 2005 and 2006 are: Denmark and to a minor extent Luxembourg.

In relative terms, the largest decreases were observed in Portugal (-5 %) and Belgium (-4 %), while emissions in Finland and Denmark increased by 16 % and 11 %, respectively. Emissions from Iceland increased by 14 %.

1990-2006 trends

Between 1990 and 2006 (Figure 1), total greenhouse gas emissions, excluding LULUCF:

  • decreased by 7.7 % (429 Mt CO2-eq.) in the EU-27;
  • decreased by 2.2 % (93 Mt CO2-eq.) in the EU-15;
  • decreased by 25.3 % (337 Mt CO2-eq.) in the EU-12.

The 1990-2006 trends in total EU-27 greenhouse gas emissions were dominated by developments in Germany (-223 Mt CO2-eq. ), the United Kingdom (-116 Mt CO2-eq.) and Spain (+146 Mt CO2-eq.). Significant changes were also observed in Romania (-91 Mt CO2-eq.), Poland (-53 Mt CO2-eq.) and Italy (+51 Mt CO2-eq.).

In relative terms, emissions decreased strongly in the EU-12 between 1990 and 2000, mainly due to the introduction of market economies and the consequent restructuring or closure of heavily polluting and energy-intensive industries. However since 2000, the trends have been almost identical in the EU-15 and in the EU-12. Between 1990 and 2006, emissions decreased most in Latvia (-56 %), Estonia (-55 %) and Lithuania (-53 %), while emissions increased most in Cyprus (+66 %), Spain (+51 %), Malta (+45 %) and Portugal (+41 %).

In the other EEA member countries, the most significant trend was the +101 % increase in emissions from Turkey (+171 Mt CO2-eq.).

Comparison with Kyoto target (Figures 2 & 3)

In the EU-15, total greenhouse gas emissions, excluding LULUCF, decreased by 2.7 % (114 Mt CO2-eq.) between the Kyoto base year and 2006. Therefore in 2006, EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions stood well above the -8 % Kyoto target. The emissions of four EU-15 Member States (Sweden, the United Kingdom, France, and Greece) were lower than their respective burden-sharing targets. Significant reductions in relative terms need still to be made especially in Spain, Austria, Luxembourg and Denmark, either by reducing domestic emissions or by making use of Kyoto mechanisms (see also CSI 011 and EEA report on Greenhouse gas emissions trends and projections in Europe).

Of the EU-12 Member States, Cyprus and Malta do not have a Kyoto target. The emissions of the other EU-12 Member States, except Slovenia, were well below their Kyoto target in 2006. The situation was similar in the EU candidate country Croatia.

2006 emissions of the other EEA member countries stood above these countries' respective Kyoto targets. Reductions will be needed either by domestic measures or by making use of Kyoto mechanisms.

Specific policy question: What are the emission changes by sector and by greenhouse gas?

Changes in EU-12 greenhouse gas emissions by sector, 1990-2006

Note: The categories Total emissions, Energy and Transport do not include emissions and removals from LULUCF (carbon sink activities) and emissions from international bunkers (international aviation and maritime transport).

Data source:
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Share of EU-15 sectors and key sources in 1990 and 2006

Note: Emissions from international aviation and international maritime navigation, not covered by the Kyoto Protocol, are not included here

Data source:
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Changes in EU-27 greenhouse gas emissions by sector, 1990-2006

Note: The categories Total emissions, Energy and Transport do not include emissions and removals from LULUCF (carbon sink activities) and emissions from international bunkers (international aviation and maritime transport).

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Changes in EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions by sector, 1990-2006

Note: The categories Total emissions, Energy and Transport do not include emissions and removals from LULUCF (carbon sink activities) and emissions from international bunkers (international aviation and maritime transport).

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Specific assessment

Greenhouse gas emissions can be viewed by country, year, gas and sector on the EEA greenhouse gas data viewer.

Greenhouse gas emissions due to energy supply and use including transport represent 80 % of all greenhouse gas emissions in the EU-27, as well as in the EU-15 (Figure 4). Between 1990 and 2006, EU-27 greenhouse gas emissions decreased in all sectors except in the transport sector, where they increased significantly (Figure 5).

2005-2006 trends in the EU-15

In absolute terms, by far the main contribution to emissions reductions between 2005 and 2006 in the EU-15 came from fossil fuel combustion by households and services, followed by petroleum refining, apidic acid and nitric acid production.

  • CO2 emissions from households and services decreased by 2.9 % (-18.8 million tonnes). One important reason for the decrease were warmer weather conditions. The number of heating degree days decreased by 3.3 % between 2005 and 2006. Important decreases in CO2 emissions from households and services were reported by France, Italy and the United Kingdom, while Germany reported substantial increases.
  • CO2 emissions from petroleum refining decreased by 4.5 % (5.5 million tonnes) mainly in Italy and the United Kingdom.
  • N2O emissions from nitric acid production decreased by 16.3% (5.4 million tonnes) mainly in Germany due to a decreased production rate.
  • N2O emissions from adipic acid production decreased by 43.6 % (-5.1 million tonnes) mainly due to abatement techniques in Italy.

In contrast, substantial increases occurred in public electricity and heat production and in refrigeration and air conditioning.

CO2 emissions from public electricity and heat production increased by 0.6 % (6.1 million tonnes). Emissions increased mainly in Denmark, Finland and the United Kingdom. In Denmark and Finland, this was mainly due to increased electricity production in coal-fired powerstations and decreased net imports of electricity. In Finland, reduced electricity production from hydropower was another reason for the emission increase. In the United Kingdom, the increase in CO2 emissions was mainly caused by a fuel shift from gas to coal. HFC emissions from refrigeration and air conditioning (+2.9 million tonnes or +8.1 %) increased mainly in France and Germany.

1990-2006 trends in the EU-15 (Figure 6)

Between 1990 and 2006, greenhouse gas emissions in the EU-15 decreased in all sectors except in the transport sector, where they increased significantly (+26 %). CO2 emissions from international aviation and navigation (which are not included here) increased by 103 % and 76 %, respectively. The largest relative decrease was observed in emissions from the waste sector. Most of the emissions reductions occurred in the 1990s, largely a result of:

  • increasing efficiency in power and heating plants,
  • the economic restructuring in eastern Germany,
  • the liberalisation of the energy market and subsequent changes in the choice of fuel used in electricity production from oil and coal to gas in the United Kingdom,
  • significant reductions in nitrous oxide emissions in the chemical industry in France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

After 1999, emissions rose again until 2004, due to increasing energy and transport demand. More solid and gaseous fuels were used for the production of public electricity and heat (whereas liquid fuels were used less). Higher transport volumes (freight and passengers) led to higher emissions from road transport, which is responsible for more than 90 % of domestic CO2 emissions from transport. The use of diesel oil increased by 22 % while the use of gasoline decreased by 13 %. Between 2004 and 2006 greenhouse gas emissions from transport were constant.

Energy supply and use (excluding transport)

Greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 4 %, due to a significant decrease of CO2 emissions from manufacturing industries and construction.

  • CO2 emissions from manufacturing industries and construction decreased by 12 %, mainly due to efficiency improvements and structural changes in Germany after reunification. After an increase observed between 2002 and 2004, emissions declined again.
  • CO2 emissions from public electricity and heat production increased by +7 %, driven by increasing electricity production in thermal power plants (+41 %). After a decrease of emissions between 2003 and 2005, they increase again in 2006 to the 2004 level (+0.6 % compared to 2005).
  • CH4 emissions from fugitive emissions decreased by 56 %, mainly due to the decline of coal mining.
  • CO2 emissions from households decreased by 1 %, while the number of dwellings increased by 19 %.

Decoupling of greenhouse gas emissions from energy consumption has been observed in all Member States, although there are large differences between Member States.

Transport

Greenhouse gas emissions (domestic transport) increased by 26%, mainly due to CO2 emissions from road transport (which represents more than 90 % of domestic transport emissions). After a decrease in 2005, which was mainly attributed to Germany, CO2 emissions from road transport increased again in 2006 (+0.3 %). However, Germany's emissions keep decreasing since 1999 due to an increased share of diesel-powered cars, increasing fuel prices (including effects of the eco-tax) and purchase of fuel outside Germany.

  • CO2 emissions from international aviation grew by 102 % and CO2 emissions from international navigation (maritime transport) grew by 60 %. These emissions grew faster than in all other transport modes.
  • N2O emissions more than doubled between 1990 and 2006. The reason is mainly that catalytic converters, which reduce cars' exhaust emissions of certain air pollutants but produce N2O as a by-product, have become standard equipment. As most cars are already equipped with catalytic converters, this strong growth is expected to stop soon.

Industrial processes

Greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 , N2O and fluorinated gases) were reduced by 12 %.

  • CO2 emissions from cement production increased by 6 %.
  • N2O emissions from chemical industries decreased by 64 %, mainly due to specific measures at adipic acid production plants in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, France, and, only in 2006 in Italy.

Large increases mainly as the result of expanding use of HFCs (as a substitute for ozone depleting CFCs that were gradually phased out in the 1990s) were offset by decreases of emissions from the production of halocarbons and SF6.

HFC emissions from refrigeration and air conditioning increased by a factor of more than 400.

Agriculture and waste

Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture fell by 11 %. In particular, N2O emissions from agricultural soils fell by 15 %, due to a decline in fertiliser and manure use.

Greenhouse gas emissions from waste fell by 39 %, mainly due to the development of landfill gas recovery.

1990-2006 trends in the EU-12 (Figure 7)

Between 1990 and 2006, greenhouse gas emissions in the EU-12 have been reduced in all the main sectors responsible for greenhouse gas emissions except for transport, where emissions increased by 41 %.

Transport emissions decreased by 13 % between 1990 and 1992, but increased thereafter. EU-12 Member States seem to reproduce the experience of Ireland, Portugal and Spain: starting from a relatively low transport level, all these countries experienced high economic growth which resulted in strong growth in transport and related greenhouse gas emissions.

Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

François Dejean

Ownership

EEA Management Plan

2010 1.3.1 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled twice per year in April-June (Q2) and October-December (Q4)
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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Phone: +45 3336 7100