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Energy and non-energy related greenhouse gas emissions

Indicator Specificationexpired Created 09 Aug 2010 Published 12 Jan 2011 Last modified 04 Sep 2015, 07:00 PM
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This content has been archived on 12 Nov 2013, reason: Content not regularly updated
Indicator codes: ENER 001
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Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)
  • No published assessments


Justification for indicator selection

There is robust evidence that global emissions of greenhouse gases are causing global temperatures to increase, resulting in climate change. Nearly 80 % of total greenhouse gas emissions in the EU-27 are caused by energy production (i.e. electricity and heat, refining), energy use by the industry, services and households, and transport. Therefore, while efforts to reduce or limit the effects of climate change are focused on limiting the emissions of all greenhouse gases, particular attention is being paid to reducing emissions arising from energy production and consumption.

Scientific references

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

Annual emissions of CO2, CH4, N2O, HFC, PFC and SF6 in UNFCCC reporting format (In Mt = million tonnes) converted to their global warming potential (100 year time horizon) for addition and comparison with the Kyoto Protocol targets (1 t CH4 = 21 t CO2-equivalent, 1 t N2O = 310 t CO2-equivalent, 1 t SF6 = 23 900 t CO2-equivalent. HFCs and PFCs have a wide range of GWPs depending on the gas and emissions are already reported in t CO2-equivalent). For CO2 only, the (national) totals do not include emissions from biomass burning or emissions or removals from land-use change and forestry (LUCF). The energy sector is responsible for energy-related emissions, such as those arising from fuel combustion activities and fugitive emissions from fuels. Fuel combustion activities include: energy industries, manufacturing industries and construction, transport, other sectors and other stationary or mobile emissions from fuel combustion. Fugitive emissions from fuels include: solid fuels and oil and natural gas. ’Energy production’ includes ‘Energy industries’ (i.e. public electricity and heat production, petroleum refining and the manufacture of solid fuels) and ‘Fugitive emissions’  (i.e. emissions from production, processing, transmission, storage and use of fuels, in particular coal-mining and gas production). ’Transport’ includes road transportation, national civil aviation, railways and navigation, and other non-road transportation. In accordance with UNFCCC and UNECE guidelines, emissions from international aviation and navigation are not included. ’Industry’ includes fossil fuel combustion (for heat and electricity) in manufacturing industries and construction (such as iron and steel, and non-ferrous metals). ‘Households’ includes fossil fuel combustion in households. ’Services sector’ includes fossil fuel combustion (for heat and electricity) from small commercial businesses, public institutions, agricultural businesses and military. Non-energy related emissions include ‘Industry’ (i.e. processes in manufacturing industries and construction without fossil fuel combustion including production and consumption of fluorinated gases), ‘Agriculture’ (i.e. domestic livestock (dairy and non-dairy cattle) keeping, in particular manure management and enteric fermentation and emissions from soils) ‘Waste’ (i.e. waste management facilities, in particular landfill sites and incineration plants and ‘Other non-energy’ (i.e. solvent and other product use).


Emission In Mt = million tonnes

Policy context and targets

Context description

Under the Kyoto Protocol, the pre-2004 Member States (EU-15) are committed to reducing their combined emissions of the greenhouse gases controlled by the Protocol to 8 % below the base year level over the period 2008–2012. This overall target has been translated into a specific legally binding target for each EU-15 Member State, based on its capacity to curb emissions (Council Decision 2002/358/EC). Each of the new Member States, excepting Cyprus and Malta, has an individual target under the Kyoto Protocol. Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia have reduction targets of 8 % from the base-year, while Hungary and Poland have reduction targets of 6 %. There is no joint Kyoto target for the EU-27. At a UN conference in August 2007 it was agreed that an emission reduction in the range of 25-40 % below 1990 levels is necessary to avoid the most catastrophic forecasts.

In preparation for a post-Kyoto international agreement, the European Commission has forth a range of proposals to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The proposals include a target for the EU-27 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 % compared to 1990, rising to 30 % when new global climate agreement reached. The 20% target will be disaggregated into trading and non-trading sectors. Emissions covered by the EU ETS scheme are to be reduced by 21% from 2005 levels by 2020 and emissions not covered by the ETS (agriculture, buildings, transport and waste) are to be reduced by 10% from 2005 levels by 2020. Individual targets for each Member State have also been proposed.


In addition, the package of proposals includes:

  • an extended target of 20% of all energy consumed to be generated through renewable sources by 2020, with individual targets for each Member State.
  • a minimum target of 10% use of biofuels in transport by 2020
  • a legal framework on carbon capture and storage and a Communication on the demonstration of carbon capture and storage


It is likely that by 2030, many options for abatement of non energy-related greenhouse gas emissions will have been already exploited, putting a greater burden on the energy sector to achieve reductions. Current policies will therefore need to be extended and enhanced and new measures will be required if long-term emission reductions and the required changes in energy production and consumption patterns (power plants, buildings, transport etc) are to be realised. Given the long lead-times in the energy sector, such changes will be determined by actions taken in the immediate future. Therefore, reducing future energy-related emissions requires additional policy action now.


No targets have been specified

Related policy documents

Key policy question

Are energy related greenhouse gas emissions decreasing?


Methodology for indicator calculation

EEA dataviewer containing annual official data submission by EU Member States to UNFCCC and EU Monitoring mechanism. Compilation of emission estimates by Member States is based on combining sectoral activity data, calorific values and carbon emission factors. Recommended methodologies for emission data estimation are compiled in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (IPCC, 2006), supplemented by the ‘Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories’ (IPCC, 2000) and UNFCCC Guidelines (UNFCCC, 2000).


 The data has been weighted according to the following global warming potentials (GWP) for each greenhouse gas: CO2 = 1, CH4=21, N2O =310 and SF6=23900, to give total GWP emissions in Mt CO2 equivalent. HFCs and PFCs have a wide range of GWPs depending on the gas and emissions have been reported by the Member States as Mt CO2 equivalent. Greenhouse gas intensity of energy use: energy related greenhouse gas emissions from / gross inland energy consumption Average annual rate of growth calculated using: [(last year/base year)(1 / number of years) –1] x 100

Methodology for gap filling

Where data is not available for EU Member States, the data gap filling procedure has been used as agreed under the Monitoring Mechanism (EEA. 2007a).

Methodology references

No methodology references available.

Data specifications

EEA data references

Data sources in latest figures


Methodology uncertainty

The IPCC (IPCC, 2000) suggests that the uncertainty in the total GWP-weighted emission estimates, for most European countries, is likely to be less than +/– 20 %. In 2007 uncertainty estimates were calculated for the EU-15 (EEA 2007a). The results suggest that the overall trend uncertainty of all EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions is estimated to be between 1 and 2 percentage points. Uncertainties at EU-15 level are between +/- 4 % and 8% for total EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions. For energy related greenhouse gas emissions the results suggest uncertainties of +/- 1 % (stationary combustion), +/- 1 % (transport) and +/- 8 % (fugitive emissions). Uncertainties for specific gases and for specific sectors are also available at the EU-15 level. For the new Member States and some other EEA countries, uncertainties are assumed to be higher than for the EU-15 Member States because of data gaps. Uncertainties in trends are much lower than in absolute values. For more information see EEA 2007a. Indicator uncertainty (scenarios) Scenario analysis always includes many uncertainties and the results should thus be interpreted with care. • uncertainties related to future socioeconomic and other developments (e.g. GDP); • uncertainties in the underlying statistical and empirical data (e.g. on future technology costs and performance); • uncertainties in the representativeness of the indicator; • uncertainties in the dynamic behaviour of the energy system and its translation into models; • uncertainties in future fuel costs and the share of low carbon technologies in the future.

Data sets uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Further work

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.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Anca-Diana Barbu


European Environment Agency (EEA)


Indicator code
ENER 001
Version id: 2
Primary theme: Energy Energy


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DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
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