Recent trends and projections in EU greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions rise slightly across EU in 2017

According to preliminary data, emissions in 2017 across the whole EU increased by 0.6% from the year before. This corresponds to a 21.9% drop in emissions between 1990 and 2017. The slight increase prolongs a relatively stable trend in emissions observed since 2014, after a 10-year period of almost continuous reductions between 2004 and 2014. The rise is mostly due to the increase of oil consumption from road transport. The energy sector was able to reduce its emissions due to the decreasing share of coal used to produce electricity and heat in the EU.

In the EU Emissions Trading System, emissions from stationary installations increased by 0.2% in 2017 from 2016. Power generation continues to drive emission reductions in the trading system. Emissions trends for industrial installations have been more variable, reflecting the economic developments observed in Europe over the last three trading periods. Aviation emissions from intra-EU flights, which are also included, grew by 4.5% in 2017 compared to the year before. The overall surplus of emission allowances continued to decline, for the third consecutive year, as a result of inter alia lower volumes of allowances being allocated for free.

In 2017, emissions covered by the Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) (including transport, buildings, agriculture and waste) increased for the third year in a row. The rise was mostly driven by the road transport sector. 

While total emissions from the entire EU remain below the 2020 target, the latest projections show that greenhouse gas emissions increased in more than half (17) of the EU Member States in 2017. 

Urgent action needed to achieve the EU’s 2030 targets

When the latest Member State projections are extended to 2030 and compared with the EU’s new binding target of at least a 40% reduction in domestic greenhouse gas emissions (compared with 1990 levels) by 2030, insufficient progress is shown by a vast majority of Member States. With current national policies, the pace of reductions is expected to slow after 2020 in EU ETS and Effort Sharing sectors, instead of accelerating.


More information: 

Ingeborg Zechmann, Press officer, +43 (0)1-31304-5413