The European Union’s statistical office estimates CO2 emissions in EU countries “significantly decreased” in 2018 compared to 2017.
Eurostat estimates CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion decreased 2.5% in 2018 compared to the previous year. The office notes these are early estimates.
While eight countries saw an increase in CO2 emissions over the past year, the other 20 EU countries saw a decrease. Six countries saw an emissions decrease of more than 4%, starting with Portugal, which boasts an incredible estimated 9% decrease in CO2 emissions. Portugal was followed by Bulgaria (-8.1%), Ireland (-6.8%), Germany (-5.4%), the Netherlands (-4.6%) and Croatia (-4.3%).
CO2 emissions account for about 80% of all EU greenhouse gas emissions. Eurostat notes that imports and exports of energy products have an impact on reported CO2 emissions — importing coal leads to an increase in emissions, while importing electricity would not. The energy source for that electricity would be reported in the country where it was produced.
A report earlier this year noted CO2 emissions reached a new worldwide high in 2018, but most of that increase came from China, India, and the US.
A recent report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) found that renewable electricity could achieve the majority of emission reductions needed to meet climate goals, but a separate report from the International Energy Agency this week showed renewable growth leveled off last year.
Though it might not be in the EU much longer, the UK’s Committee on Climate Change recently suggested the UK should set a goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Electric Cars Up
Another recent report from Eurostat showed the increase in EU electric car registration from 2013 through 2017. In 2017:
Among the EU Member States for which figures are available, there were five countries with more than 1% of their registered cars either electric or hybrid electric: Sweden (2.4%), Poland (1.9%), United Kingdom (1.5%), France (1.4%) and Belgium (1.2%).
These numbers should get even more interesting once 2018 and 2019 are included, and it’s worth noting that European electric car leader Norway is not an EU member-state and won’t be included in these figures.
A 2.5% decrease in CO2 emissions over the course of one year is indeed significant. While we’re reluctant to put too much stock into this as an overall indicator — again, see the latest Global Energy & CO2 Status Report — it’s important to point out positives. The EU is on the right path, and it’s worth taking a closer look at the efforts of Portugal, which is setting a high bar.
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