Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increased in 2010, as a result of both economic recovery in many countries after the 2009 recession and a colder winter. These figures from the GHG inventory published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) confirm earlier EEA estimates.
GHG emissions of the 27 Member States of the European Union (EU-27) increased by 2.4 % between 2009 and 2010. There was a sharp 7.3% decrease of emissions between 2008 and 2009.
The EU remains fully on track to meet its Kyoto target. The long-term reduction trend continued. Emissions in the 15 Member States with a common commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (EU-15) in 2010 were 11 % below the Kyoto Protocol base year.
Higher emissions were partly due to the economic recovery (GDP grew by 2 % in the EU in 2010), as many European countries emerged from the 2009 recession. Higher final energy demand also contributed to the emissions growth. The winter in 2010 was colder than in the previous year, leading to higher heating demand.
As in previous years the growth in the use of renewable energy sources continued in 2010 with a 12.7% increase of total consumption of energy from renewable sources. Gas prices fell markedly in 2010 and EU total consumption of gas used for energy purposes went up by 7.4%. The higher share of gas led to an improved carbon intensity of fossil fuel consumption in many member states.
Emissions were higher in most of the key sectors in 2010, particularly those sectors relying on fossil-fuel combustion.
Road transport emissions continued to fall in 2010, despite more demand for freight transport.
Higher industrial activity during 2010 have led to higher final energy demand and related emissions in those sectors covered by the EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) compared to other sectors.
Among the greenhouse gases reported to the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC), CO2 accounted for the largest increase in emissions in 2010. The gas represented 82 % of total EU GHG emissions.
Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom accounted for 56% of the EU’s total net increase in GHG emissions. The relative growth in emissions was highest in Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Latvia. Spain, Greece and Portugal again reported lower GHG emissions in 2010.