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You are here: Home / Media / News / EU greenhouse gas emissions increase for second year in a row

EU greenhouse gas emissions increase for second year in a row

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Emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases (GHG) from the EU-25 increased by 18 million tonnes (0.4 %) between 2003 and 2004. Emissions from the EU-15 increased by 11.5 million tonnes (0.3 %) in the same period. These figures, released today, are contained in the latest GHG inventory report from the European Environment Agency (EEA), based in Copenhagen.

PRESS RELEASE - Copenhagen, Thursday, 22nd June, 2006


Industry and Transport drive Europe's increase

'An increase of 0.4 % may appear small; however, the magnitude of GHG emissions is such that the actual increase is significant. In 2004, about 11 tonnes of greenhouse gases were released on average per person in the EU-25. The 0.4 % increase is comparable to the amount of CO2 emissions released by 3 million people if they were to drive their cars around the earth," said Professor Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the EEA.

Spain sees largest increase in GHG emissions
Spain and Italy saw the largest emission increases in absolute terms with plus 19.7 (4.8 %) and 5.1 (0.9 %) million tonnes respectively. On the positive side, 2004 saw emissions reductions from Germany (- 9.1 million tonnes, - 0.9 %), Denmark (- 6 million tonnes, -8.1 %) and Finland (- 4.2 million tonnes, - 4.9 %).

While, total GHG emissions for the EU-25 were 4.8 % below 1990 figures - the base year to which most GHG's are to be scaled back towards under the Kyoto protocol - the EU-15 has only decreased its emissions by 38 million tonnes (0.9 %) compared to the base year.

Transport drives CO2 emissions rise in the EU-15
Emissions of CO2, the most problematic GHG, were 4.4% above 1990 levels for the EU-15. Compared to 2003, CO2 emissions increased by 0.6 %. Road transport was the biggest contributor to this trend with an increase of 12 million tonnes of CO2 (1.5%). However, manufacturing of iron and steel also increased their CO2 outputs with 8 million tonnes (5.4%).

In country terms, Spain increased it's output of CO2 most dramatically in 2004 as energy production switched to fossil fuels to make up for a shortfall in hydro power caused by drought. This increase in CO2 drove the overall increase in GHG emissions in Spain in 2004.

'Despite the various policy initiatives, this report highlights that the trend is still going in the wrong direction. Europe must implement all planned policies and measures relating to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The forthcoming National Allocation Plans for 2008-2012 under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme must also be ambitious in the context of national commitments to reduce emissions," Prof McGlade said.

Notes to the editor:

The inventory report is the annual submission of the EU to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It is more detailed on the EU-15 (pre-2004 Member States) as these countries are covered by the 'EU burden-sharing agreement' set out by the Kyoto Protocol, an amendment to the UNFCCC.

Changes in greenhouse gas emissions in EU-15 - sectors
The overall 11.5 million tonnes increase in EU-15 emissions between 2003 and 2004 reflected higher greenhouse gas emissions from industry (+16 million tonnes, +1.8%) which was mainly due to higher emissions from iron and steel production as well as refrigeration and air conditioning.

Transport emissions increased by 14 million tonnes (+1.7%) between 2003 and 2004. In road transportation the substantial increase of CO2 from diesel oil consumption (+23 million tonnes, +5 %) was only partly offset by the decrease of CO2 from gasoline consumption (-10 million tonnes, -3 %).

Greenhouse gas emissions from energy industries were almost stable (+0.1%) which is mainly the net result of opposing trends:

  • CO2 from oil refining increased by 3.9 million tonnes (+3.3 %)
  • CO2 from electricity and heat production decreased by 3.2 million tonnes (-0.3 %): whereas power production increased by 2 % in line with increasing electricity demand within the EU-15, a shift of fuel use in thermal power stations from coal (-1 %) and oil (-14 %) to gas (+9 %) and biomass (+13 %) in combination with increased use of wind power (+32 %), hydro power (+4%) and nuclear power (+1 %) contributed to emission decreases from electricity and heat production.

Greenhouse gas emissions from households and the services sector decreased by 9 million tonnes (-1.4%).

Emissions in the agriculture sector decreased mainly due to declining number of cattle and lower emissions from agricultural soils.

Other reductions were achieved for fugitive emissions from coal mining and from natural gas. Emissions from the waste sector have decreased due to increased methane recovery and less waste land filled.

Changes in greenhouse gas emissions in EU-15 Member States
Between 2003 and 2004, Spain and Italy saw the largest emission increases in absolute terms (+19.7 million tonnes CO2 equivalents and +5.1 million tonnes CO2 equivalents respectively). On the positive side, 2004 saw emission reductions from Germany (-9.1 million tonnes CO2 equivalents), Denmark (-6.0 million tonnes CO2 equivalents), and Finland (-4.2 million tonnes CO2 equivalents):

Spanish emission increases mainly occurred in CO2 from electricity and heat production (+8.9 million tonnes), CO2 from energy consumption in other manufacturing industry (+3.4 million tonnes), CO2 from road transport (+3.3 million tonnes) and CO2 from iron and steel production (+ 2.2 million tonnes, both energy and process related emissions). The strong increase from electricity and heat production reflects a strong increase of thermal electricity production partly due to low hydro power generation.

  • In Italy CO2 emissions increased mostly from oil refining (+2.4 million tonnes) and from road transport (+2.0 million tonnes).
  • The German emission reductions occurred primarily in CO2 from households and services (-9.1 million tonnes) and CO2 from public electricity and heat production (-3.9 million tonnes), whereas CO2 emissions from iron and steel production increased by 5.4 million tonnes.
  • Danish and Finnish emission reductions are mainly due to CO2 from electricity and heat production (-6.0 and -3.7 million tonnes respectively) which reflects higher hydro power production in the Nordic electricity market.

Figures and tables

The following figures and table give details, for the EU-15, of trends in emissions of the six greenhouse gases up to 2004. Emissions from international aviation and shipping, and emissions from/removals by land use change and forestry, are not covered.

Figure 1: Total EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions in relation to the Kyoto target
(source: European Environment Agency, 2006)


Total EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions in relation to the Kyoto target

Notes: The linear target path is not intended as an approximation of past and future emission trends. It provides a measure of how close the EU-15 emissions in 2004 are to a linear path of emissions reductions from 1990 to the Kyoto target for 2008-2012, assuming that only domestic measures will be used. Therefore, it does not deliver a measure of (possible) compliance of the EU-15 with its GHG targets in 2008-2012, but aims at evaluating overall EU-15 GHG emissions in 2004. The unit is index points with base year emissions being 100.

GHG emission data for the EU-15 as a whole do not include emissions and removals from LULUCF (land use, land use change and forestry). In addition, no adjustments for temperature variations or electricity trade are considered. For the fluorinated gases the EU-15 base year emissions is the sum of Member States' emissions in the respective base years. 13 Member States have chosen to select 1995 as base year under the Kyoto Protocol, Austria and France have chosen to use 1990. Therefore, the EU-15 base year estimates for fluorinated gas emissions are the sum of 1995 emissions for 13 Member States and 1990 emissions for Austria and France.

The Kyoto target is a five-year average target. This is the reason for plotting the latest five-year average available (2000-2004) in addition to the GHG emission trends 1990-2004.

Table 1: Greenhouse gas emissions trends and Kyoto Protocol targets for 2008-2012
(source: European Environment Agency, 2006)

  1. The base year emissions in this table are preliminary and the final emissions will be agreed in 2006 within Council Decision (2002/358/EC). The base year for CO2, CH4 and N2O, for the EU-15-15, is 1990; for the fluorinated gases 13 Member States have chosen to select 1995 as the base year, whereas Austria and France have chosen 1990. As the EU-15 inventory is the sum of Member States' inventories, the EU-15 base year estimates for fluorinated gas emissions are the sum of 1995 emissions for 13 Member States and 1990 emissions for Austria and France.
  2. Malta and Cyprus did not provide GHG emission estimates for 2004, therefore the data provided in this table is based on gap filling.

Note: Malta and Cyprus do not have Kyoto Protocol targets.

Figure 2: Absolute change in GHG emissions 2003-2004 in EU-15 by sector
(source: European Environment Agency, 2006)

Note: 'Energy industries' includes 'Public electricity and heat production' 'Petroleum refining' and 'Manufacture of solid fuels and other energy industries'; 'Industry' includes energy related emissions from 'Manufacturing industries' and emission from 'Industrial processes'; 'Other' includes mainly 'Fugitive emissions from fuels', emissions from 'Solvent and other product use'.

Figure 3: Absolute change in GHG emissions 2003-2004 for EU-15 Member States
(source: European Environment Agency, 2006)


Links:
To view the full report, follow this link to the EEA Website:
http://reports.eea.europa.eu/technical_report_2006_6/en

For extensive background information, please visit the EEA Website:
http://www.eea.eu.europa.eu

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