Analysis of key trends and drivers in greenhouse gas emissions in the EU between 1990 and 2015

Publication Created 31 May 2017 Published 01 Jun 2017
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This report is being published online only. No printed edition of this report will be produced.
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The report analyses the major factors underpinning the trends in greenhouse gas emissions in Europe, both in the last year and over the period since 1990. The data is based on the EU’s 2017 submission to the UNFCCC of its greenhouse gas inventory.


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Global and European temperature Global and European temperature According to three different observational records of global average annual near-surface (land and ocean) temperature, the last decade (2007–2016) was 0.87 to 0.92 °C warmer than the pre-industrial average, which makes it the warmest decade on record. Of the 17 warmest years on record, 16 have occurred since 2000. The year 2016 was the warmest on record, more than 1.1 °C warmer than the pre-industrial level, followed by 2015. The average annual temperature for the European land area for the last decade (2007–2016) was around 1.6 °C above the pre-industrial level, which makes it the warmest decade on record. Moreover, 2016 was the second warmest year (after 2014) in Europe since instrumental records began. Climate models project further increases in global average temperature over the 21st century (for the period 2081–2100 relative to 1986–2005) of between 0.3 and 1.7 °C for the lowest emissions scenario (RCP2.6) and between 2.6 and 4.8 °C for the highest emissions scenario (RCP8.5). All UNFCCC member countries have agreed on the long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C compared with pre-industrial levels and have agreed to aim to limit the increase to 1.5 °C. For the three highest of the four RCPs, global average temperature increase is projected to exceed 2 °C compared with pre-industrial levels by 2050. Annual average land temperature over Europe is projected to increase by the end of this century (2071–2100 relative to 1971–2000) in the range of 1 to 4.5 °C under RCP4.5 and 2.5 to 5.5 °C under RCP8.5, which is more than the projected global average increase. The strongest warming is projected across north-eastern Europe and Scandinavia in winter and southern Europe in summer. The number of warm days (those exceeding the 90th percentile threshold of a baseline period) have doubled since 1960 across the European land area. Europe has experienced several extreme heat waves since 2000 (2003, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2014 and 2015). Under a high emissions scenario (RCP8.5), extreme heat waves as strong as these or even stronger are projected to occur as often as every two years in the second half of the 21st century. In southern Europe they are projected to be particularly strong.

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