Greenhouse gas emissions from transport

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-111-en
Also known as: TERM 002
Created 03 Dec 2015 Published 17 Dec 2015 Last modified 19 Jul 2016, 01:36 PM
In 2013, the transport sector contributed almost one quarter (24.4 %) of total EU-28 greenhouse gas emissions. The figure increases to 19.8%, if international aviation and maritime emissions are excluded. In 2013, emissions from t ransport (including aviation) were 19.4 % above 1990 levels, despite a decline between 2008 and 2013. Emissions fell by 0.6 % compared to the previous year.  International aviation experienced the largest percentage increase in greenhouse gas emissions over 1990 levels (+ 93 %), followed by international shipping (+ 28 %) and road transport (+ 17 %). Emissions will need to fall by 67 % by 2050 in order to meet the long-term reduction target of the 2011 Transport White Paper.

Key messages

  • In 2013, the transport sector contributed almost one quarter (24.4 %) of total EU-28 greenhouse gas emissions. The figure increases to 19.8%, if international aviation and maritime emissions are excluded.
  • In 2013, emissions from transport (including aviation) were 19.4 % above 1990 levels, despite a decline between 2008 and 2013. Emissions fell by 0.6 % compared to the previous year. International aviation experienced the largest percentage increase in greenhouse gas emissions over 1990 levels (+ 93 %), followed by international shipping (+ 28 %) and road transport (+ 17 %).
  • Emissions will need to fall by 67 % by 2050 in order to meet the long-term reduction target of the 2011 Transport White Paper.

How have greenhouse gas emissions from transport evolved?

Greenhouse gas emissions from transport

GHG emissions (million tonnes CO2-equivalent)
Data sources: Explore chart interactively
Table
Data sources: Explore chart interactively

Change in total greenhouse gas emissions from transport

Chart
Data sources: Explore chart interactively
Table
Data sources: Explore chart interactively

Emissions from transport (including aviation) started to decrease in 2008 and by 2013 they had decreased by 8.2 %. In 2013, emissions from transport (including aviation) fell by 0.6 % in comparison with 2012, and this reduction is more acute for road transportation (-0.4 %) than for aviation (-0.1 %).

In 2013, road transport was responsible for almost 73 % of the total greenhouse gas emissions from transport (including aviation and bunkers). 43 % of these emissions were contributed by passenger cars, while 19% came from heavy-duty vehicles. Passenger cars accounted for 60 % of all road transport emissions, while heavy-duty vehicles accounted for 27 %.

Due to the notable increase in passenger-kilometres and tonne-kilometres, compared with 1990 values, international aviation continued to display the largest percentage increase in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels (93 %), followed by international shipping (28 %) and road transportation (17 %). In 2013, transport (including aviation and shipping) contributed 24.4 % of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the EU-28. This figure drops to 19.8 % if bunkers are excluded from the overall value.

In 2013, EU greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping decreased sharply (by 5.4%), almost reaching 2001 levels, but they will need to fall by 30.2 % by 2050 in order to meet the EU reduction target of a 40 % reduction from 2005 levels by 2050.

However, emissions from transport (including aviation) were still 19.4 % above 1990 levels in 2013, and preliminary estimates show that emissions from transport rose slightly in 2014. Emissions will, therefore, need to fall by 67 % by 2050 in order to meet the 2011 Transport White Paper target. 

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:
1990-2013
Geographic coverage:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Diana Vedlugaite

EEA Management Plan

2015 1.1.2 (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