Environmental Protection

EU Agency Reports GHG Emissions Down 9.3% in 2007

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 (EEA).

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

Falling emissions since 2005 have largely resulted from the lower use of fossil fuels (particularly oil and gas) in households and services — these sectors, not covered by the EU Emission Trading System (ETS), are among the largest sources of GHG emissions in the EU. Warmer weather and higher fuel prices were the primary causes for the drop in emissions in 2006–2007, with most of the decrease occurring in households— particularly in Germany.

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," McGlade said. "A strong Copenhagen agreement later this year would drive forward investments vital to our future prosperity."

Highlights of the report include:

  • 17 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 percent of total EU emissions in 2007.
  • For the first time, the report includes information on the use of data and emissions reported under the EU Emission Trading Scheme 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.

EEA has updated the data in the GHG data viewer, a Web-based interface that simplifies access and analysis of the data in the GHG inventory report. The GHG data viewer can show emission trends for the main sectors and allows comparison of emissions between different countries and activities. In addition, the data viewer can produce graphics and key emission estimates.

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