EU greenhouse gases emissions decreased in 2005

According to the European Environment Agency, the European greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions globally decreased in 2005.

Since 1990, the emissions decreased by 7.9 percent in the EU-27. This is indeed good news.

However, in the EU-15 (the fifteen first countries to have join the European Union : Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom) the emissions decreased by just two percent since 1990.

According to this page of the European Environment Agency (EEA) :

The key points of the final report are:

  • EU-15: Emissions of GHGs decreased by 0.8% (35.2 million tonnes CO2 equivalents) between 2004 and 2005 – mainly due to decreasing CO2 emissions of 0.7 % (26 million tonnes).
  • EU-15: Emissions of GHGs decreased by 2.0% in 2005 compared to the base year[1] under the Kyoto Protocol.
  • EU-27: Emissions of GHGs decreased by 0.7% (37.9 million tonnes CO2 equivalents) between 2004 and 2005.
  • EU-27: Emissions of GHGs decreased by 7.9% compared to 1990 levels.

[1] The base year for most greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol is 1990 for the EU-15, but almost all Member States use 1995 as the base year for fluorinated or ‘F-gases’

The main contributors to this global decrease of emissions are Germany, Finland and the Netherlands. Indeed, the EEA states the following :

  • Germany reduced emissions by 2.3% or 23.5 million tonnes CO2 equivalents: a shift from coal to gas in the production of public electricity and heat was one of the main reasons for the decrease in emissions. In addition, emissions from road transportation and from households and services declined substantially.
  • Finland reduced emissions by 14.6% or 11.9 million tonnes CO2 equivalents: emission reductions were mainly due to a substantial decrease in the use of fossil fuels in the production of public electricity and heat mainly due to electricity imports. Coal use, in particular, decreased.
  • The Netherlands reduced emissions by 2.9% or 6.3 million tonnes CO2 equivalents: less fossil fuel was used for the production of public electricity and heat. The household and service sector used less fuel due to a warmer winter.

Meanwhile, French total emissions decreased by half a percent between 2004 and 2005.

According to this article in Actu-Environnement, Spanish emissions increased by 3.6 percent between 2004 and 2005. This is explained by the fact that Spain relied more on fossil fuels to produce public electricity and heat. Austrian emissions increased during the same period by two percent.

As one can see with the given elements, decreasing the use of coal to produce electricity and shifting to a cleaner solution like natural gas is a good idea. Superior cuts could have been achieved if the above-mentioned countries would have shifted to nuclear instead as it emits even less carbon dioxide than natural gas.

To conclude, one can indeed be happy of such results on a global EU scale. Now the countries where emissions increased have to work on decreasing their emissions. Among these countries, we find Spain and Austria as we saw but also Greece, Ireland, Italy and Portugal.

To access the full final report, please report to the official website of the European Environment Agency. You can also download it directly from here.

Sources (in French) :

Le Figaro article | Actu-Environnement article

2 thoughts on “EU greenhouse gases emissions decreased in 2005”

  1. HI, and thanks for this interesting article.

    Of course, I’m pleased by this bit of news. But still, I can’t help but think that those encouraging facts do not reflect fully our impact. While we, in Europe, slightly decreased our emissions by turning away from poluting energy sources, we also became a major cause of the polution in other parts of the word, where our goods come from in abundance. (think of computers and gadgets, clothing, …)

    Also I disagree with you about the nuclear energy. The only fact that it produces energy with less CO2 (and this can be disputed when you consider the whole production line of a nuclear plant and its wastes) can’t, I think , turn the nuclear energy in a convenient solution.
    This should be discussed far more thoroughly (and in French ^^) .

    But again, good news still, and thanks for your thought-provoking texts.

  2. Hello Qat !

    Thanks for keeping on reading this blog 😀

    It is true that even if EU greenhouse gases emissions are decreasing, it is worth noting that the emissions in the rest of the world are still increasing, and partly because of the stuff we consume daily.

    Regarding your concerns on nuclear, I got to admit that it is not a perfect solution, but none really is. When I talk about global emissions I refer to Life Cycle Analysis and I happen to have two different sources on that.

    So I think I will write one of these days on that matter as it enables to compare all solutions. If you want to write me a mail in French in order to discuss this, I will gladly answer it.

    And you’re welcome, I’m glad to write on this kind of subjects, even more if I got faithful readers 😉

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