Greenhouse gas emissions from transport

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-111-en
Also known as: TERM 002
expired Created 11 Nov 2013 Published 12 Dec 2013 Last modified 04 Sep 2015, 07:00 PM
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The latest EEA preliminary estimations shows that transport emissions, including aviation, fell by 2.3 % in 2012, following the reduction trend seen from 2008. In 2011, transport (including shipping and aviation) contributed 25 % of the total of GHG emissions in the EU-28. Emissions in 2011 were 25 % above 1990 levels, despite a decline between 2008 and 2011. Emissions will, therefore, need to fall by 68 % by 2050 in order to meet the Transport White Paper target. International aviation experienced the largest percentage increase in GHG emissions from 1990 levels (+ 94 %), followed by international shipping (+ 48 %). Emissions from international shipping declined between 2008 and 2010. However, GHG emissions from international aviation rose by almost 3 % in 2011, breaking the reduction trend seen since 2008. Outside the EU-28, transport emissions in Turkey, excluding bunkers, have increased substantially by 82 % since 1990. In Switzerland, transport emissions (excluding shipping) have increased by 18 %, slightly below the EU-28 average, while in Norway and Iceland, emissions increased by 40 % and 53 % respectively, which are well above the EU-28 average.

Key messages

The latest EEA preliminary estimations shows that transport emissions, including aviation, fell by 2.3 % in 2012, following the reduction trend seen from 2008. In 2011, transport (including shipping and aviation) contributed 25 % of the total of GHG emissions in the EU-28. Emissions in 2011 were 25 % above 1990 levels, despite a decline between 2008 and 2011. Emissions will, therefore, need to fall by 68 % by 2050 in order to meet the Transport White Paper target. International aviation experienced the largest percentage increase in GHG emissions from 1990 levels (+ 94 %), followed by international shipping (+ 48 %).

Emissions from international shipping declined between 2008 and 2010. However, GHG emissions from international aviation rose by almost 3 % in 2011, breaking the reduction trend seen since 2008.

Outside the EU-28, transport emissions in Turkey, excluding bunkers, have increased substantially by 82 % since 1990. In Switzerland, transport emissions (excluding shipping) have increased by 18 %, slightly below the EU-28 average, while in Norway and Iceland, emissions increased by 40 % and 53 % respectively, which are well above the EU-28 average.

How have greenhouse gas emissions from transport evolved?

Transport emissions of GHGs

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Change in total GHG emissions from transport

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In 2011, EU-28 transport GHG emissions were 25 % above 1990 levels. According to the Transport White Paper target, it means that transport emissions will need to fall by 68 % to meet the 2050 target.

Latest data show that road transport remains the main source of GHG emissions from transport in 2011, with a share of 94 % of all transport emissions in the EU-28 Member States. Overall GHG transport emissions, including aviation but excluding maritime shipping have reduced only slightly by 0.6 % in 2011. The reduction has been limited partly because international aviation emissions rose by 2.6 %.

Air transport is the fastest growing contributors to transport GHG emissions between 1990 and 2011: the GHG emissions of this sector doubled in the last 20 years. Between 2007 and 2011, emissions from this sector decreased by 4.5 % but are expected to grow, along with demand, in the coming years.

Between 2007 and 2009, emissions from International maritime transport decreased by  9 %. Nevertheless, international maritime increased by  48 % in the period from 1990 to 2011.

In the EU-15 member countries emissions of GHGs from transport have increased by 14 % between 1990 and 2011, contributing to a fifth (22 %) of the total GHG emissions in 2011 in the EU-15. Road transport is the largest contributor to these EU-15 emissions (94 % in 2011).

In the EU-13 Member States transport GHG emissions increased by 60 % in between 1990 and 2011, as a consequence of increased road transport demand (+ 70%). However, in the last 3 years, CO2 emissions in EU-13 has stabilized.

Indicator specification and metadata

Indicator definition

Total greenhouse gas emissions from transport, including CO2, CH4 and N2O, are analysed in this indicator. Emissions are split into road transport, rail transport, navigation, domestic aviation, international aviation and maritime transport.

Units

In accordance with UNFCCC rules, the global warming potential values used in this indicator are those taken from IPCC AR2 for the pre-2015 period, and those taken from IPCC AR4, for the post-2015period. The data has been weighted according to the following global warming potentials for each greenhouse gas to give total emissions in million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e): 

  • Pre-2015: CO2 = 1, CH= 21, N2O = 310;
  • Post-2015: CO2 = 1, CH4 = 25, N2O = 298.

Policy context and targets

Context description

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 greenhouse gas emissions from transport. From 1 January 2012, air transport has been included in the EU Emissions Trading System. However, in order to allow time for negotiations on a global market-based measure applying to aviation emissions, only emissions from flights within the European Economic Area currently fall under the EU system.

Targets

The EU's overall goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport (including international aviation but not maritime bunkers) to a level 60 % below 1990 levels by 2050. Within this, there is an intermediate goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport  by 20 % compared with 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 greenhouse gas 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 emissions targets for new passenger cars and vans, are also monitored in the Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM).

As the transport sector is not included in the Emissions Trading Scheme (non-ETS sector), it is the responsibility of Member States to reduce transport emissions through national policies (for all non-ETS sectors, a 10 % reduction against 2005 levels by 2020 is foreseen), as opposed to sectors covered by the ETS (e.g. energy industries and industrial installations), where the emissions 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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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

Methodology for indicator calculation

The annual official data submission is made by the EU Member States to the UNFCCC and EU Monitoring mechanism. The compilation of emissions estimates by Member States is based on a combination of sectoral activity data, calorific values and carbon emissions factors. Recommended methodologies for the estimation of emissions data are compiled in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, supplemented by the ‘Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National Greenhouse gas Inventories’  and UNFCCC Guidelines.

Methodology for gap filling

This indicator is based on information reported by Member States under the Monitoring Mechanism Regulation (MMR). However, should a Member State not submit the inventory data required to compile the EU inventory, the Commission shall prepare estimates to complete the greenhouse gas inventories submitted by Member States in consultation and in close cooperation with 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 process is are described in the Commission Delegated Regulation of 12.03.2014 (http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/g-gas/monitoring/docs/c_2014_1539_en.pdf )

Methodology references

  • IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories The IPCC Guidelines were first accepted in 1994 and published in 1995. UNFCCC COP3 held in 1997 in Kyoto reaffirmed that the Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories should be used as "methodologies for estimating anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases" in calculation of legally-binding targets during the first commitment period
  • Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories This report on Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories is the response to the request from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to complete its work on uncertainty and prepare a report on good practice in inventory management
  • UNFCCC guidelines United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change   guidelines

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

Please refer to the methodology uncertainty of the greenhouse gas indicator CSI 010/CLIM 050.

Data sets uncertainty

Please refer to the methodology uncertainty of the greenhouse gas indicator CSI 010/CLIM 050.

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sources

Generic metadata

Topics:

Transport Transport (Primary topic)

Climate change Climate change

Tags:
transport emissions | ghg emissions
DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • TERM 002
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1990-2011
Geographic coverage:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, 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, United Kingdom

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Diana Vedlugaite

EEA Management Plan

2013 2.9.2 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled once per year
European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100