EU GHG emission levels falling third year in a row

European Union emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases (GHG) declined for the third consecutive year in 2007, according to the EU’s GHG inventory report compiled by the European Environment Agency.

The EU-27’s overall domestic emissions were 9.3 % below 1990 levels, which equalled a drop of 1.2 % or 59 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent compared to 2006. The EU-15 now stands 5 % below its Kyoto Protocol base year levels.

Fall in emissions levels since 2005 is largely due  to a decrease in the use of fossil fuels (particularly oil and gas) in households and services. The decrease was favored by a combination of a positive factor – warmer winter – and a negative one – the higher price of fuels. It’s interesting noting, that the households and services sectors are the largest sources of GHG emissions in the EU but, at the same time, they are not covered by the EU Emission Trading System (ETS), which includes enterprises and firms only. Yet, they performed much better – actually causing the total GHG emissions to decrease. It could be worthwhile, then, to pay mre attention to these sectors, with more and higher incentives to make it more convenient to turn to nin-fossil fuels.

Welcoming the reductions, Professor Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director, stressed that EU Member States need to take positive steps to sustain progress in coming years.

“The economic stimulus packages that Governments are currently adopting represent a crucial opportunity to address the climate crisis and the financial crisis simultaneously”, Professor McGlade said. “A strong Copenhagen agreement later this year would drive forward investments vital to our future prosperity.”

Selected highlights of the report

* Seventeen EU Member States reduced GHG emissions in 2007. Among EU-15 States, all but Spain and Greece reduced emissions.

* GHG emissions from international aviation and maritime transport, currently excluded in the national totals, have grown steadily since 1990, reaching 6 % of total EU emissions in 2007.

* The report includes for the first time information on the use of data and emissions reported under the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) for the purposes of preparing national GHG inventories in the EU-15. Most Member States used the ETS data to improve and refine the estimation and reporting of CO2 emissions.

* The report also contains, for the first time, key information about Member State emission allowances under the Kyoto Protocol.


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