Transport emissions of greenhouse gases
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 did greenhouse gas emissions from transport evolve?
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
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 Plan2013 2.9.2 (note: EEA internal system)
Frequency of updates
- 12 Jan 2011 - Transport emissions of greenhouse gases
- 03 Sep 2010 - Transport emissions of greenhouse gases
- 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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