Projections of GHG emissions - outlooks from National Communications under UNFCCC
Justification for indicator selection
There is growing evidence that emissions of greenhouse gases are causing global and European surface air temperatures to increase, resulting in climate change (IPCC, 2001). The potential consequences at the global level include rising sea levels, increasing frequency and intensity of floods and droughts, changes in biota and food productivity and increases in diseases. Efforts to reduce or limit the effects of climate change are focused on limiting the emissions of all greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol.
This outlook supports assessment of progress in reducing GHG emissions in the pan-European level to achieve the Kyoto Protocol targets. It also helps to identify appropriate policy response options.
- Current Evidence of Climate Change
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
- EECCA core set of indicators Based on Guidelines developed by the UNECE Working Group on Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
- EEA Core set of indicators (CSI)
This indicator illustrates the projected trends in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in relation to the Kyoto Targets. Greenhouse gas emissions (total) refer to the sum of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), perflourocarbons (PFCs), hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), weighted using their 100-year global warming potentials. National totals exclude emissions from natural resources and international bunker fuel emissions.
The indicator also provides information on emissions from the main greenhouse gas emitting sectors: energy supply and use (including energy industry, fugitive emissions, energy use by industry and by other sectors); transport; industry (processes); agriculture; waste and other (non-energy).
Model used: N/A
Ownership: European Environment Agency
Temporal coverage: 1990 - 2020 (SEE: no data for AL, BA and CS; EECCA: no data for TJ all years, no data for MO for 2000, no data for AM, GE, TM, UZ, UA for 2020, for which 2010 figures are used for AM, GE, TM, UZ and 2015 for UA.).
Geographical coverage: EU 15 : Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom; EU 10 : Cyprus, Czech republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia; SEE: Bulgaria, Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Turkey; EECCA: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Canada, US
UnitsMillion tonnes of a GHG
Million tonnes in CO2-equivalent
(the units are not always compatible and should be normalized)
in Gg and CO2 equivalent (where possible).
Policy context and targets
Over a decade ago, most countries joined an international treaty -- the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) -- to begin to consider what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable. Recently, a number of nations have approved an addition to the treaty: the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol, an international and legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gases emissions world wide, entered into force on February 16th 2005. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol shares the Convention's objective, principles and institutions, but significantly strengthens the Convention by committing Annex I Parties to individual, legally-binding targets to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
To date most countries in the Pan-European region ratified the Kyoto Protocol, notably: Annex I: Belarus, Croatia, Russian Federation, Ukraine, EU 27, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstien, Switzerland. Non-Annex I countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazhakhstan, Former Yugoslavian Republic Macedonia, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
31 countries and the EEC are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below levels specified for each of them in the treaty. The Individual Targets for Annex I Parties are listed in the Kyoto Protocol's Annex B. These add up to a total cut in greenhouse-gas emissions of at least 5% from 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008-2012.
The EU Commission's Progress Report towards achieving the Kyoto objectives in the EU and the individual Member States is required under the EU Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Mechanism (Council Decision 280/2004/EC concerning a mechanism for monitoring Community GHG emissions and for implementing the Kyoto Protocol).
Pan European level
The majority of the countries in the Pan European region and the EEC are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below levels specified for each of them in the Kyoto Protocol. The individual targets for Annex I Parties are listed in the Kyoto Protocol's Annex B. These should add up to a total cut in greenhouse-gas emissions of at least 5% from 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008-2012.
For the EU-15 Member States, the targets are those set out in Council Decision 2002/358EC in which Member States agreed that some countries would be allowed to increase their emissions, within limits, provided these are offset by reductions in others.
The EU-15 Kyoto Protocol target for 2008-2012 is a reduction of 8 % from 1990 levels for the basket of six greenhouse gases. For the new Member States, the candidate countries, other EEA member countries, and other Annex 1 countries the targets are included in the Kyoto Protocol.
Overview of national Kyoto targets (reduction from base year levels):
|Kyoto Target |
|Kyoto Target |
|Iceland||-10.0%||15 old EU Member |
Non-Annex I countries are not bound to such commitments and do not expect reduction of the GHG emissions.
The post 2012 climate regime will look different compared to Kyoto. In March 2007, the Council of the European Union decided that the EU would make a firm independent commitment to achieving at least a 20 % reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 compared to 1990. On 23 January 2008 the European Commission put forward a package of proposals that will deliver on the European Union's ambitious commitments to fight climate change and promote renewable energy up to 2020 and beyond. In December 2008 the European Parliament and Council reached an agreement on the package that will help transform Europe into a low-carbon economy and increase its energy security. The Package sets a number of targets for EU member states with the ambition to achieve the goal of limiting the rise in global average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times including: GHG reduction of 20% compared to 1990 by 2020 (under a satisfactory global climate agreement this could be scaled up to a 30% reduction); 20% reduction in energy consumption through improved energy efficiency, an increase in renewable energy's share to 20% and a 10% share for sustainably produced biofuels and other renewable fuels in transport.
Other related goals and targets:
- max global temperature rise of 2o (EC 6EAP and Councils), meaning global concentrations of less than 450 ppm CO2 equivalent
- for developed countries: 60 to 80% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (2004 Environment Council)
- global CO2 emissions should decline after 2025, by as much as 50% of 1990 levels (EC 2006 Green paper on energy)
Related policy documents
- Climate and Energy package 2009
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.
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
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Key policy question
What is the projected progress in GHG emissions reduction?
Specific policy question
What is the projected progress in GHG reduction by sectors?
Methodology for indicator calculation
Data for the projected green house gas emissions (total, by gas and by sector) is extracted from the most recent National Communications submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and referes in most cases to the baseline scenario (in some cases for the scenario with measures).
The percentage change in the total projected GHG emissions in CO2 equivalent was calculated based on the historical data from 1990 and projected data for 2020 (for some countries the data was available only for until 2010. See details in the section data uncertainty).
Projections of the GHG emission by gass include: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O). Where the data was available the indicator covers also hydrofluorcarbons (HFCs), perfluorcarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).
The sectors covered by the indicator include: combustion of fossil fuels in power plants and other sectors (e.g. households and services; industry); transport; industrial processes; waste; agriculture and other.
In the further work, projected progress for the Annex I countries can be calculated as a gap between emission projections and the Kyoto target. Two additional types of projections can be considered: (1) with existing measures projections and (2) with additional measures projections.
Overview of the Projection Models
Projections of the GHG emission reported in the National Communications are calculated for different scenarios with the help of computer simulation models, which in turn utilize many assumptions on factors such as population growth, gross domestic product (GDP) growth, technology efficiency improvements, land-use changes, and the energy resource base.
The IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios identified at least 17 models and more than 400 scenarios developed for the estimation of the GHG emissions (for more information see GHG Emission Scenario Database) . In most cases the information about models used for calculation of the projection of the GHG emission is not reported in the National Communications on Climate Change submitted by the EECCA and SEE countries.
For some countries (Romania) projections are based on calculations carried out using the ENPEP (Energy and Power Evaluation Program) package program, developed by Argonne National Laboratory of US Department of Energy (DOE) and distributed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The models used are MAED (Model for Analyses of Energy Demand), WASP (Wiener Automatic Simulation Program), BALANCE and IMPACT. Other countries could have used different models and this could be investigated further.
Scenarios and key assumptions
The National Communications present the three most common scenarios: a) baseline scenario or without measures scenario, b) with measures scenario or mitigation scenario, c) with additional measures scenario. These scenarios reflect various hypotheses related to economic growth, population growth, economic and policy development. They also reflect evolution of activities in the energy sector and other non-energy sectors, which contribute to GHG emissions. Each communication describes the national context for all three scenarios in detail.
The baseline scenario includes all (and only) implemented and current policies and measures as for the time of the development of the national reports, i.g. no assumptions are made on the development and implementation of additional measures and policies in the time horizon considered. Therefore we used these data for our purposes.
Methodology for gap filling
National reports on Climate Change were not available at the time of implementation of the project (December 2006) for the following countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Tajikistan, Turkey. The results of the research from individual countries or the projections done by global modeling can be used for gap filling . No gap filling was done at this stage of the project.
EEA data references
- No datasets have been specified here.
External data references
Data sources in latest figures
Uncertainties in the projections in GHG emissions have not been assessed. The methodology and quality of the data differs widely between countries.
Different countries use different methodologies to calculate their projections of the GHG emission. It is unclear to which extend the projections from different models are compatible. Simply to compare emissions levels for baseline scenario (and across different scenarios) for different countries is not sufficient to shed light on internal consistency, plausibility, and comparability of data and the assumptions behind the scenarios. Analysis of the underlying driving forces (population growth, economic growth, energy consumption, and energy and carbon intensities) should thus also be an important part of the evaluation. Some of these driving forces are specified as model inputs, and some are derived from model outputs, so it is necessary to determine the assumed relationships among the main driving forces.
Data sets uncertainty
1) The dates for submission of the National communications vary from 1998 (Armenia) to 2006 (Belarus, Ukraine, Russia). The models used for calculations of the projected GHG emissions by different countries use different scenarios reflecting various hypotheses related to economic growth, population growth, policy development, evolution of activities in the energy sector and other non-energy sectors, which contribute to GHG emissions. The assumptions for the projection of GHG emission in the National Communications produced in the earlier days may not sufficiently reflect current developments of the countries and additional analysis might be needed. Some for example claim that economic growth in some EECCA and SEE countries was not as high as it was expected and thus the projections of GHG emissions reported in the communications are higher than the current emission levels.
2) The units used for measurement differ (million-tonnes of GHG or million-tonnes of CO2-equivalent). The normalization of the data to the CO2 equivalent can be done using the coefficient, however it is unclear what coefficients can be used.
3) The dates for when simulations were run are unclear. It is however possible to asses the period of the simulation by date of publication of the national communications and the base year used for simulations which are presented in the table below.
|Country||Year of publishing |
the most recent communication
|Baseline year for |
|Albania||2002||to be extracted from the NCC by the 15th October |
|Ukraine||2006/ 2003 ||#|
|Uzbekistan ||1999 ||#|
No uncertainty has been specified
Short term work
Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.
Long term work
Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.
Responsibility and ownership
EEA Contact InfoAnita Pirc Velkavrh
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
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