Transport emissions of greenhouse gases
In the EEA member countries, emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from transport (excluding international air and maritime transport) increased by 28 % between 1990 and 2007. The 15 old EU Member States make up 81 % of the total EEA area transport emissions and they increased by 26 % in the same period. In the 4 EFTA countries the emissions increased by 25 % while in the 12 new EU Member States the increase was 46 %. In the Candidate Countries (CC-1) the emissions increased by 97 %.
For several of the 15 old EU Member States and EFTA countries, rapidly rising GHG emissions from transport are a serious concern for meeting the Kyoto target.
In the 15 old EU Member States, domestic aviation was the fastest growing transport mode, while rail transport was the fastest decreasing one. Also GHG emissions from international aviation and navigation are increasing rapidly, but these emissions are, in accordance with UNFCCC guidelines, not included in the GHG emission totals relevant for the Kyoto targets.
In the 15 old EU Member States, the transport sector was responsible for 21 % of the total GHG emissions in 2007, while in the 12 new EU Member States the transport sector contributed only by 12 % to the total GHG emissions.
How did greenhouse gas emissions from transport evolve?
Total GHG emissions from transport
Note: EU-15 refers to 15 old EU Member States prior to May 2004 (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom), EFTA-4 to the four EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), EU-12 to 12 new EU Member States as of January 2007 (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) and CC-1 to the candidate country Turkey.
Annual European Community greenhouse gas inventory 1990-2007 and inventory report 2009, Submission to the UNFCCC Secretariat, EEA Technical Report No 4/2009, European Environment Agency.
Change in total GHG emissions from transport
Note: Trends in transport greenhouse gas emissions by country 1990–2007
EEA, 2009. Data compiled by European Topic Centre for Air and Climate Change.
In the 15 old EU member countries emissions of GHGs from transport have increased by 24 % between 1990 and 2007, contributing to a fifth (21 %) of the total GHG emissions in 2007 in the EU-15. CO2 is the main contributor to transport GHG emissions (98 %) and road transport is, in turn, the largest contributor to these emissions (93 % in 2007). Road transport and air transport are the fastest growing contributors to transport GHG emissions between 1990 and 2007. Transport is also a rapidly growing source of N2O emissions (89 % between 1990 and 2007). As it is not a large source of N2O (share in total GHG emissions 0.3 %), it does not have a major impact on the overall trend of total EU-15 GHG emissions.
The EFTA-4 countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) together account for 3 % of the total GHG emissions from transport in the EEA-32 area. The GHG emissions from transport in these countries were 25 % above the 1990 levels in 2007.
In the 12 new EU Member States transport GHG emissions increased by 46 % between 1990 and 2007, as a consequence of increased road transport demand. CO2 is the most important GHG, with 97 % share on total GHG emissions from the transport sector. These CO2 emissions increased by 45 % between 1990 and 2007. Road transport is a small, but rapidly growing source of N2O emissions (+137 % of total transport emissions between 1990 and 2007), due to the penetration of three-way catalysts.
GHG emissions from transport in the EU-15 show a different trend than in the EU-12, where emissions increased strongly in the last years. Within the EU-15 emissions started to stabilise in the last years. For the EU-27, this results in an overall increase between 1990 und 2007 of 27 %.
GHG emissions from transport in the candidate country Turkey increased by 97 % between 1990 and 2007. The increase is due to road transportation and domestic aviation. Turkey accounts for 5 % of the GHG emissions from transport in the EEA area.
Indicator specification and metadata
Total Greenhouse Gas emissions, CO2, CH4 and N2O from transport, are analysed in this indicator. Total transport emissions can be split into road transport, rail transport, navigation, domestic aviation, international aviation and maritime transport.
The data has been weighted according to the following global warming potentials (GWP) for each GHG: CO2 = 1, CH4=21, N2O =310 to give total GHG emissions in Mt CO2 equivalent. N2O emissions are expressed in Gg.
Policy context and targets
There are no specific reduction targets for the transport sector foreseen under the Kyoto Protocol. However, there are several European policies and strategies (see below) aiming at the reduction of GHG emissions from transport. From 1 January 2012, air transport has been included in the EU ETS.
The EU has the overall goal of achieving a 60 % reduction in transport GHG emissions (including international aviation but not maritime bunkers) from 1990 levels by 2050, with an intermediate goal of reducing 20 % transport GHG emissions from 2008 levels by 2030 (+ 8 % against 1990 levels). Similarly, shipping emissions (international maritime bunkers) are to be reduced by 40 % from 2005 levels by 2050. These overall transport targets are monitored annually and are in line with the total GHG emissions reduction of 20 % by 2020 for the overall economy (from 1990 levels). Other transport policies supporting the achievement of these targets, such as the various regulations setting CO2 emission targets for new passenger cars and vans, are also monitored in TERM.
Transport being a non-Emissions Trading Scheme (non-ETS) sector, Member States have the responsibility to reduce transport emissions through national policies (for non-ETS sectors all together, by − 10 % against 2005 levels by 2020), as opposed to sectors covered by the ETS (e.g. energy industries and industrial installations), where the emission reduction objective is to be achieved through an EU-wide trading scheme.
Related policy documents
COM(2011) 144 Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system
PREPARING THE EUROPEAN TRANSPORT AREA FOR THE FUTURE
COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 166/2005
COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 166/2005 of 31 January 2005 fixing the rates of the refunds applicable to certain cereal and rice products exported in the form of goods not covered by Annex I to the Treaty
DIRECTIVE 1999/62/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 17 June 1999 on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures
Directive 2003/30/EC, use of biofuels and renewable fuels
Promotion of the use of biofuels and other renewable fuels for transport. Directive 2003/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 May 2003 on the promotion of the use of biofuels and other renewable fuels for transport.
DIRECTIVE 2004/49/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 29 April 2004 on safety on the Community’s railways and amending Council Directive 95/18/EC on the licensing of railway undertakings and Directive 2001/14/EC on the allocation of railway infrastructure capacity and the levying of charges for the use of railway infrastructure and safety certification
DIRECTIVE 2004/50/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 29 April 2004 amending Council Directive 96/48/EC on the interoperability of the trans-European high-speed rail system and Directive 2001/16/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the interoperability of the trans-European conventional rail system
DIRECTIVE 2006/40/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 17 May 2006 relating to emissions from air-conditioning systems in motor vehicles and amending Council Directive 70/156/EEC
DIRECTIVE 2007/58/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 October 2007 amending Council Directive 91/440/EEC on the development of the Community’s railways and Directive 2001/14/EC on the allocation of railway infrastructure capacity and the levying of charges for the use of railway infrastructure
DIRECTIVE 2008/101/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 19 November 2008 amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to include aviation activities in the scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community
Greenhouse gas monitoring mechanism
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
Transport White paper 2011
Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system
Methodology for indicator calculation
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 GHG Inventories, supplemented by the ‘Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National GHG Inventories’ and UNFCCC Guidelines.
Methodology for gap filling
The indicator is 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 Union inventory, the Commission shall prepare estimates to complete the GHG inventories submitted by Member States in consultation and close cooperationwith 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 of this gap-filling processes are described in the Commission Delegated Regulation of 12.03.2014 ()
No methodology references available.
Please refer to the methodology uncertainty of the GHG indicator CSI 010/CLIM 050
Data sets uncertainty
Please refer to the methodology uncertainty of the GHG indicator CSI 010/CLIM 050.
No uncertainty has been specified
National emissions reported to the UNFCCC and to the EU Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Mechanism
provided by Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV) , United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Transport (Primary topic)
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
- TERM 002
Contacts and ownership
EEA Contact InfoCinzia Pastorello
EEA Management Plan2009 2.10.2 (note: EEA internal system)
Frequency of updates
- 21 Apr 2009 - Transport emissions of greenhouse gases
- 28 Dec 2006 - Transport emissions of greenhouse gases by mode
- 28 Oct 2005 - Transport emissions of greenhouse gases by mode
- 28 Feb 2005 - Transport emissions of greenhouse gases by mode
- 28 Oct 2003 - Transport emissions of greenhouse gases by mode
- 01 Jun 2001 - Transport emissions of greenhouse gases
- 01 Jun 2001 - Transport emissions of greenhouse gases
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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