What a decade’s worth of data tells us about the EU’s emissions progress

18th December, 2021.      //   Climate Change  // 

Few industrialized regions have achieved as rapid a reduction in emissions as the European Union. According to a new research by the EU’s statistics office, greenhouse emissions (GHG) in the 27-country bloc are currently 26% lower than they were a decade ago, and have declined every year since 2010.

Household heating and cooling, as well as large-scale electricity, gas, and steam generating, account for the great bulk of these reductions. While the energy sector is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, it has also been the quickest to decarbonize, thanks to the rapid rise of wind, solar, and energy storage, as well as regulations that encourage the use of renewables to replace fossil fuels. Last year was the first time that renewable energy sources produced more electricity than fossil fuels in the EU. By 2030, the EU aims to retire 50% of its coal-fired power facilities.

According to a study of 24 nations with dropping GHG emissions, several countries are seeing energy sector emission reductions surpass those in every other sector.

European Gas

The next round of carbon reductions will be even more difficult.
The next round of carbon reductions will be even more difficult.
Buildings, transportation, industry, and agriculture account for over 75% of the bloc’s emissions. Between 2010 and 2021, EU transportation and agriculture emissions climbed modestly. Even though transportation emissions fell dramatically in early 2020, they are now up 6% from 2010.

Neither the EU, nor virtually any other country, is on track to meet their net-zero emissions targets limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The energy industry is easier to control from a climate standpoint. For regulators, power sector emissions are relatively straightforward: a few companies (utilities) generate most of the emissions in a few places (power stations). Government agencies have been monitoring and mitigating air pollution, including carbon dioxide, for decades. Policies to do this are often in place. Thanks to the falling price of gas and renewable energy, utilities opt to procure new generation from low to zero-emissions sources on their own. Financial incentives can accelerate this transition.

  • Linkedin

  • Pinterest

  • Youtube