Thursday

27th Feb 2020

EU trend of CO2 reduction seems to have stopped

  • CO2 emissions in EU were 0.29 percent higher in 2016 than in 2014 (Photo: tonal decay)

The EU's statistical agency Eurostat announced Thursday (4 May) that CO2 emissions resulting from the EU's energy use have "slightly decreased" in 2016, compared to the year before.

But Eurostat's press release did not mention that the small decrease has not made up for the small increase in CO2 emissions the year before, and that more CO2 was emitted in 2016 than in 2014.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions account for around 80 percent of all of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to potentially disastrous climate change.

In 2016, carbon emissions dropped by 0.4 percent compared to 2015, Eurostat said in a press release.

But in 2015, CO2 emissions had increased by 0.7 percent compared to 2014.

In other words, last year's CO2 emissions increased by 0.29 percent compared to 2014, which means that for the second consecutive year the EU's carbon emissions are higher than in 2014, albeit very slightly.

The flatlining contrasts with figures from 2014, when emissions dropped by 5 percent compared to the year before. In the two years before, the year-on-year decrease had also been at least 2 percent.

It was in 2014 that the EU had reached its long-term target for 2020: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent compared to 1990 - it had achieved a 22.9 percent reduction.

If the EU does not increase its CO emissions significantly, it will achieve its 2020 goal, but critics say that is not enough to help reduce the risk of global warming.

In any case, EU citizens still have a much larger carbon footprint that is 2.5 times that of inhabitants in the developing world.

Within the EU, most of the CO2 is emitted by its largest member. Last year, Germany accounted for 22.9 percent of the EU's CO2 emissions. Germany's CO2 emissions had increased by 0.7 percent compared to the year before.

Analysis

EU transport sector has a CO2 problem

Although car manufacturers are reaching their CO2 targets for their fleets, car usage has gone up in Germany, while the gap between lab results and actual fuel consumption has increased.

Investigation

After spending €587 million, EU has zero CO2 storage plants

The EU has spent at least €587 million so far on carbon capture and storage, and was willing to spend millions more. However, after a decade not a single power plant in the EU is currently using the technology.

Warning of agricultural 'digital arms race' in EU

Europe is on the verge of allowing centralisation and concentration of farming data at an unprecedented scale, with the absence of any regulation, NGO Friends of the Earth have warned.

What will Brexit mean for climate action in EU and UK?

The UK is leaving the EU after playing a key role in climate action - just as COP26 comes to Glasgow. With so many policy negotiations ahead, a split between London and Brussels post-Brexit could undermine the 2050 emissions-neutrality goal.

Timmermans: EU climate law will 'discipline' rogue states

The first EU-wide climate law will be a "disciplining" exercise to implement the Green Deal - although the Polish climate minister Michal Kurtyka warned the EU Commission about the social cost of delivering the green transition.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. WHO on coronavirus in Europe: 'be prepared'
  2. Frontex hits activist pair with €24,000 legal bill
  3. Turkish jets keep violating Greek airspace
  4. 'Fragmented' Slovakia goes to polls amid corruption woes
  5. EU development policy needs a fresh start
  6. EU critical of China on Swedish dissident publisher
  7. NGOs urge EU to tackle meat consumption 'problem'
  8. Coronavirus: voices from a quarantined Italian town

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us