The European Environment Agency (EEA) reports that official data, submitted on behalf of the EU to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), shows that EU member states managed to collectively reduce their emissions by 3.8% from 2018 to 2019. This decrease brought EU emissions to 24% below 1990 levels, not accounting for carbon dioxide (CO2) removals from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) activities. When these removals are included, the overall reduction from 1990 to 2019 amounts to 25.9%.
Almost 80% of the net reduction in emissions achieved in 2019 took place in the heat and power sector, which is covered by the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). Increasing carbon prices and gas becoming relatively cheaper, in comparison to coal, led to a significant reduction in coal use, in favour of gas and renewable energy sources. Emissions also decreased in other industrial sectors and residential buildings, the latter due to a warmer winter and lower demand for heating. However, CO2 emissions from the transport sector continued their increasing trend in 2019. For road transport, the increase was mostly due to higher gasoline consumption in passenger cars.
The EEA report that during the past three decades, several factors have contributed to the EU’s emission reductions, including an increase in the use of renewable energy, a switch from coal to gas in electricity and heat production, improvements in energy efficiency and structural changes in European economies. The decarbonisation of the EU’s power sector has been the largest contributor to emission reductions since 1990.
Source: EEA, 31 May 2021