Indicator Assessment

Projections of GHG emissions - outlooks from National Communications under UNFCCC

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-72-en
  Also known as: Outlook 025
Published 08 Jun 2007 Last modified 11 May 2021
16 min read
This page was archived on 12 Nov 2013 with reason: Content not regularly updated

With current trends and policies,*  GHG emissions per capita are expected to  increase until 2020 in the EU-10, Eastern Europe, Caucasus, central Asia and South Eastern Europe more than in  EU 15, Canada and US. In absolute terms, US GHG emissions per capita are expected to stay the highest in the world.**

Global energy-related emissions of CO2, the largest contributor to total GHG emissions, will increase by 29 % up to 2030. China will be the main engine for this growth. In terms of energy-related emissions per capita, Russia will be come close to the current largest emitter, the US.

However, if countries were to adopt all the energy security and energy-saving policies that they are currently considering to tackle CO2 emissions, total emissions avoided by 2030 could equal more than the current emissions of the US and Canada combined (or 16 % of the 2030 emissions in the  IEA reference scenario), and energy-related CO2 emissions in OECD Europe in 2030 could be less than today's level.

*Baseline Scenarios presented in the National Communications of Climate Change (NCC). They include the GDP and population growth projections and the policies adopted in the country on the date of production of the NCC.

** On January 10, 2007 the European Commission presented a package on Climate Change and Energy which basically was endorsed by the European Council 9 March 2007. It includes targets for the reduction of GHGs by 2020. This will influence the reported projections for the coming years.


Required information is not filled in: Information about the starting date of the publishing schedule is missing.

Projected percentage change in greenhouse gas emissions as CO2-equivalents per capita, 2000-2020

Note: International comparisons

Data source:

The graph is build from data extracted from the National Communications of climate change. Data extracted included: total GHG emissions from 1990 to 2020, Population projections. Where data were not available the gap filing was used. See note above for GHG emissions data set. Gap filing for population projections was done from United Nation Population Division (UN) World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision.

Outlook FACTS AND FIGURES to 2020/2030

  • The biggest increases in total GHG emissions per capita in the pan-European region from 2000 to 2020 are projected for Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia  (at least 15 %), the New-10 and South Eastern Europe, and the smallest for the EU-15 (about 6.5 %).
  • Canada is projected to have the smallest increase in total GHG emissions per capita (4.2 % from 2000 to 2020). The US (12 %) would have an increase larger than Canada and the EU-15 , but smaller than Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia  , EU-15, the New-10 and South Eastern Europe. At the same time the US and Canada will remain the highest total GHG emitters per capita globally.

This assesment is based on the methodology presented in the Outlook indicator OI 012 - GHG emissions from IAE model

  • In terms of total energy-related CO2 emissions, China is expected to overtake the US before 2010.  
  • Energy-related CO2 emissions per capita (which form 90% of total CO2 emissions per capita) are expected to increase in all regions. The most striking growth from 2004 to 2030 is projected for China, doubling to 7 tonne per capita, to approach  OECD Europe (8 tonne) in 2030, and for India where there is a projected increase of 75 %.
  • The US is expected to stabilise its per capita energy-related CO2 emissions at about 20 tonne per capita, still the highest in the world. Russia, with a 47 % increase from 2004 to 2030 (15 tonne in 2030), is projected to approach the US.
  • With additional policies and technical measures **** it would be possible to avoid 6.3 Gtonnes of global CO2 emissions in 2030. Emissions in OECD Europe in 2030 could be less than today's level. Improved end-use efficiency of electricity and fossil fuels would account for two-thirds of the avoided emissions in 2030, the rest coming from increased use of less carbon-intensive sources.

*Baseline Scenarios presented in the National Communications of Climate Change (NCC). They include the GDP and population growth projections and the policies adopted in the country on the date of production of the NCC.

** On January 10, 2007 the European Commission presented a package on Climate Change and Energy which basically was endorsed by the European Council 9 March 2007. It includes targets for the reduction of GHGs by 2020. This will influence the reported projections for the coming years.

***Projections are based on the IEA reference case scenario, which   takes into account government policies enacted and adopted by mid-2006, even though many of them have not been fully implemented. Possible, potential or even unlikely future measures are not considered. The reference scenario is based on the UNSTAT projections of population growth (world average growth of 1 % per year for 2004-2030) and OECD and International Monetary Fund projections for economic development (world average growth 3.4 % per year for 2004-2030). It is assumed that energy-supply and energy use technologies become steadily more efficient, though at varying speeds for each fuel and each sector, depending on the potential for efficiency gains and the stage of technology development and commercialisation. New policies - excluded from the Reference scenario - would be needed to accelerate deployment of more efficient and cleaner technologies.

**** IEA  Alternative policy scenario of the WEO 2006  analyses the situation if countries were to adopt all  the energy security and energy policies they are currently considering. These include efforts to improve efficiency in energy production and use, increase reliance on non-fossil fuels and sustain the domestic supply of oil and gas within net energy importing countries.

Supporting information

Indicator definition


This indicator illustrates the projected trends in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in relation to the Kyoto Targets. Greenhouse gas emissions (total) refer to the sum of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), perflourocarbons (PFCs), hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), weighted using their 100-year global warming potentials. National totals exclude emissions from natural resources and international bunker fuel emissions.

The indicator also provides information on emissions from the main greenhouse gas emitting sectors: energy supply and use (including energy industry, fugitive emissions, energy use by industry and by other sectors); transport; industry (processes); agriculture; waste and other (non-energy).

Model used: N/A

Ownership: European Environment Agency

Temporal coverage: 1990 - 2020 (SEE: no data for AL, BA and CS; EECCA: no data for TJ all years, no data for MO for 2000, no data for AM, GE, TM, UZ, UA for 2020, for which 2010 figures are used for AM, GE, TM, UZ and 2015 for UA.).

Geographical coverage: EU 15 : Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom; EU 10 : Cyprus, Czech republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia; SEE: Bulgaria, Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Turkey; EECCA: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Canada, US


Million tonnes of a GHG
Million tonnes in CO2-equivalent
(the units are not always compatible and should be normalized)
in Gg and CO2 equivalent (where possible).


Policy context and targets

Context description

Over a decade ago, most countries joined an international treaty -- the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) -- to begin to consider what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable. Recently, a number of nations have approved an addition to the treaty: the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol, an international and legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gases emissions world wide, entered into force on February 16th 2005. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol shares the Convention's objective, principles and institutions, but significantly strengthens the Convention by committing Annex I Parties to individual, legally-binding targets to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

To date most countries in the Pan-European region ratified the Kyoto Protocol, notably:  Annex I: Belarus, Croatia,  Russian Federation, Ukraine, EU 27, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstien, Switzerland. Non-Annex I countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazhakhstan, Former Yugoslavian Republic Macedonia, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey,  Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

31 countries and the EEC are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below levels specified for each of them in the treaty.  The Individual Targets for Annex I Parties are listed in the Kyoto Protocol's Annex B. These add up to a total cut in greenhouse-gas emissions of at least 5% from 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008-2012.

The EU Commission's Progress Report towards achieving the Kyoto objectives in the EU and the individual Member States is required under the EU Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Mechanism (Council Decision 280/2004/EC concerning a mechanism for monitoring Community GHG emissions and for implementing the Kyoto Protocol).


Pan European level
The majority of the countries in the Pan European region and the EEC are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below levels specified for each of them in the Kyoto Protocol.  The individual targets for Annex I Parties are listed in the Kyoto Protocol's Annex B. These should add up to a total cut in greenhouse-gas emissions of at least 5% from 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008-2012.

EU level

For the EU-15 Member States, the targets are those set out in Council Decision 2002/358EC in which Member States agreed that some countries would be allowed to increase their emissions, within limits, provided these are offset by reductions in others.

The EU-15 Kyoto Protocol target for 2008-2012 is a reduction of 8 % from 1990 levels for the basket of six greenhouse gases. For the new Member States, the candidate countries, other EEA member countries, and other Annex 1 countries the targets are included in the Kyoto Protocol.

Overview of national Kyoto targets (reduction from base year levels):

Kyoto Target

Kyoto Target
Austria -13% Luxembourg -28.0%
Belgium -7.5% Malta -
Bulgaria -8.0% Netherlands -6.0%
Croatia -5.0% Norway 1.0%
Czech Republic -8.0% Poland -6.0%
Cyprus - Portugal +27.0%
Denmark -21.0% Romania -8.0%
Estonia -8.0% Slovakia -8.0%
Finland 0% Slovenia -8.0%
France 0% Spain +15.0%
Germany -21.0% Sweden +4.0%
Greece +25.0% Turkey -
Hungary -6.0% United Kingdom -12.5%
Iceland -10.0% 15 old EU Member
States (EU15)
Ireland +13.0% Belarus 0
Italy -8.0% Russian Federation 0
Latvia -8.0% Ukraine 0
Liechtenstein -8.0%

Lithuania -8.0%

Non-Annex I countries are not bound to such commitments and do not expect reduction of the GHG emissions.

The post 2012 climate regime will look different compared to Kyoto. In March 2007, the Council of the European Union decided that the EU would make a firm independent commitment to achieving at least a 20 % reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 compared to 1990. On 23 January 2008 the European Commission put forward a package of proposals that will deliver on the European Union's ambitious commitments to fight climate change and promote renewable energy up to 2020 and beyond. In December 2008 the European Parliament and Council reached an agreement on the package that will help transform Europe into a low-carbon economy and increase its energy security. The Package sets a number of targets for EU member states with the ambition to achieve the goal of limiting the rise in global average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times including: GHG reduction of 20% compared to 1990 by 2020 (under a satisfactory global climate agreement this could be scaled up to a 30% reduction); 20% reduction in energy consumption through improved energy efficiency, an increase in renewable energy's share to 20% and a 10% share for sustainably produced biofuels and other renewable fuels in transport.

Other related goals and targets:


- max global temperature rise of 2o (EC 6EAP and Councils), meaning global concentrations of less than 450 ppm CO2 equivalent

- for developed countries: 60 to 80% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (2004 Environment Council)

- global CO2 emissions should decline after 2025, by as much as 50% of 1990 levels (EC 2006 Green paper on energy)

Related policy documents



Methodology for indicator calculation

Data for the projected green house gas emissions (total, by gas and by sector) is extracted from the most recent National Communications submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and referes  in most cases to the baseline scenario (in some cases for the scenario with measures).

The percentage change in the total projected GHG emissions in CO2 equivalent was calculated based on the historical data from 1990 and projected data for 2020 (for some countries the data was available only for until 2010. See details in the section data uncertainty).

Projections of the GHG emission by gass include: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O). Where the data was available the indicator covers also hydrofluorcarbons (HFCs), perfluorcarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

The sectors covered by the indicator include: combustion of fossil fuels in power plants and other sectors (e.g. households and services; industry); transport; industrial processes; waste; agriculture and other.

In the further work, projected progress for the Annex I countries can be calculated as a gap between emission projections and the Kyoto target. Two additional types of projections can be considered: (1) with existing measures projections and (2) with additional measures projections.

Overview of the Projection Models

Projections of the GHG emission reported in the National Communications are calculated for different scenarios with the help of computer simulation models, which in turn utilize many assumptions on factors such as population growth, gross domestic product (GDP) growth, technology efficiency improvements, land-use changes, and the energy resource base.
The IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios identified at least 17 models and more than 400 scenarios developed for the estimation of the GHG emissions (for more information see GHG Emission Scenario Database) . In most cases the information about models used for calculation of the projection of the GHG emission is not reported in the National Communications on Climate Change submitted by the EECCA and SEE countries.

For some countries (Romania) projections are based on calculations carried out using the ENPEP (Energy and Power Evaluation Program) package program, developed by Argonne National Laboratory of US Department of Energy (DOE) and distributed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The models used are MAED (Model for Analyses of Energy Demand), WASP (Wiener Automatic Simulation Program), BALANCE and IMPACT. Other countries could have used different models and this could be investigated further.

Scenarios and key assumptions

The National Communications present the three most common scenarios: a) baseline scenario or without measures scenario, b) with measures scenario or mitigation scenario, c) with additional measures scenario. These scenarios reflect various hypotheses related to economic growth, population growth, economic and policy development. They also reflect evolution of activities in the energy sector and other non-energy sectors, which contribute to GHG emissions. Each communication describes the national context for all three scenarios in detail.  

The baseline scenario includes all (and only) implemented and current policies and measures as for the time of the development of the national reports, i.g. no assumptions are made on the development and implementation of additional measures and policies in the time horizon considered. Therefore we used these data for our purposes.

Methodology for gap filling

National reports on Climate Change were not available at the time of implementation of the project (December 2006) for the following countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Tajikistan, Turkey. The results of the research from individual countries or the projections done by global modeling can be used for gap filling . No gap filling was done at this stage of the project.

Methodology references



Methodology uncertainty

Uncertainties in the projections in GHG emissions have not been assessed. The methodology and quality of the data differs widely between countries.
Different countries use different methodologies to calculate their projections of the GHG emission. It is unclear to which extend the projections from different models are compatible. Simply to compare emissions levels for baseline scenario (and across different scenarios) for different countries is not sufficient to shed light on internal consistency, plausibility, and comparability of data and the assumptions behind the scenarios. Analysis of the underlying driving forces (population growth, economic growth, energy consumption, and energy and carbon intensities) should thus also be an important part of the evaluation. Some of these driving forces are specified as model inputs, and some are derived from model outputs, so it is necessary to determine the assumed relationships among the main driving forces.

Data sets uncertainty

1) The dates for submission of the National communications vary from 1998 (Armenia) to 2006 (Belarus, Ukraine, Russia). The models used for calculations of the projected GHG emissions by different countries use different scenarios reflecting various hypotheses related to economic growth, population growth, policy development, evolution of activities in the energy sector and other non-energy sectors, which contribute to GHG emissions. The assumptions for the projection of GHG emission in the National Communications produced in the earlier days may not sufficiently reflect current developments of the countries and additional analysis might be needed. Some for example claim that economic growth in some EECCA and SEE countries was not as high as it was expected and thus the projections of GHG emissions reported in the communications are higher than the current emission levels.

 2) The units used for measurement differ (million-tonnes of GHG or million-tonnes of CO2-equivalent). The normalization of the data to the CO2 equivalent can be done using the coefficient, however it is unclear what coefficients can be used.

3) The dates for when simulations were run are unclear. It is however possible to asses the period of the simulation by date of publication of the national communications and the base year used for simulations which are presented in the table below.

Country Year of publishing
the most recent communication
Baseline year for
model simulation
Albania 2002 to be extracted from the NCC by the 15th October
Armenia 1998 #
Azerbaijan 2000 #
2006 #
Bulgaria 2002 #
Croatia 2001 #
Georgia 1999 #
Kazahstan 1998 #
Kyrgistan 2003
Moldova 2000 #
Macedonia 2003 #
Romania 2005 #
2002 #
Turkmenistan 2000 #
Tajikistan 2002 #
Ukraine 2006/ 2003

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sources

Other info

DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
Indicator codes
  • Outlook 025
EEA Contact Info




Document Actions