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Transport emissions of greenhouse gases

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Assessment made on  01 Jan 2002

Generic metadata


Transport Transport (Primary theme)

DPSIR: Pressure


Indicator codes
  • TERM 002
Geographic coverage:

Policy issue:  Meet the EU target under the Kyoto Protocol


Key assessment

In the ACs, CO2 emissions from transport (about 98 % of transport greenhouse gas emissions) fell by 9 % between 1990 and 2000. This is mainly the result of the strong decrease in transport demand in the first half of the 1990s. However, this decrease proved not to be sustainable. Transport demand, energy consumption and CO2 emissions have been increasing rapidly since the mid-1990s. The small decrease in emissions, reported in 2000, will probably not persist.

Trends in transport CO2 emissions are closely linked to economic trends. As AC economies recover, transport volumes — and CO2 emissions — shall increase. Transport CO2 emissions per capita are however still three times lower than in the EU.

In the EU, emissions of greenhouse gases from transport (excluding international aviation and maritime shipping) increased by 19 % between 1990 and 2000, contributing a fifth of total greenhouse gas emissions in 2000. CO2 is the main contributor to transport greenhouse emissions (97 %) and road transport is in turn the largest contributor to these CO2 emissions (92 % in 2000). The voluntary agreement with the car manufacturers to reduce average CO2 emissions from new cars is helping to slow the growth of car transport emissions (European Commission, 2002g). Road and domestic aviation are the fastestgrowing contributors to transport CO2 emissions with increases of 20 and 29 % respectively between 1990 and 2000. In 2000, domestic aviation produced 4 % of transport CO2 emissions.

Although greenhouse gas emissions from international flights and maritime shipping are excluded from the emission reduction targets of the Kyoto Protocol and from emission inventories, they represent a significant and growing concern. In the EU, these emissions represented 4 % (157 million tonnes CO2 equivalent) of total emissions in 1990 and 6 % (234 million tonnes CO2 equivalent) in 2000.


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