Annual report and briefing on EU greenhouse gas emissions 2016

05 June 2018

Article: 52/2205

The European Environment Agency (EEA) annual report on greenhouse gas emissions shows there was a small cut in total greenhouse gas emissions in 2016, but a rise in transport emissions.

There was a 0.4% decrease in the total greenhouse gas emissions 2016, compared with 2015.

The agency has also published a briefing on trends and drivers in greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, which explains the drop in emissions is linked to the EU using less coal to produce heat and electricity. Emissions in the industrial and commercial sector increased because of the cold winter in 2016.

Other key findings include:

  • The 0.4% decrease in EU greenhouse gas emissions in 2016 occurred while the EU’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 2.0%. Emissions are expected to decrease further as GDP per capita increases, showing that a growing economy and addressing climate change can go hand in hand.
  • The UK and Spain accounted for the largest decreases of greenhouse gas emissions in absolute terms in the EU in 2016. Reductions in those countries were largely because of lower consumption of solid fuels (mainly coal) in the power sector.
  • There was a relatively large increase in emissions in Poland, particularly in the road transport sector.
  • Emissions covered by the EU emissions trading system (ETS) decreased in 2016, in particular for the energy supply sector (mostly electricity and heat production) and industry (mostly iron and steel). The decrease in the power sector was the result of a sharp decline in coal consumption.
  • Based on Eurostat data, there was a decline in nuclear electricity generation. This was more than offset by the increase in the use of renewable energy sources.
  • Compared with 1990, the EU economy uses less energy, and does so more efficiently, and with lower greenhouse gas emissions. Improved energy efficiency will continue to play a key role in cutting future emissions but further efforts will also be needed to achieve the EU’s joint 40% reduction target by 2030.

Source: EEA, 6 May 2018