Greenhouse gas emissions from transport in Europe
Greenhouse gas emissions from the EU’s transport sector increased steadily between 2013 and 2019, a trend that diverges significantly from those in other sectors during that period. Preliminary estimates for 2020 indicate a substantial drop in transport emissions, due to decreased activity during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is anticipated that transport emissions will rebound after 2020. National projections compiled by the EEA indicate that even with measures currently planned in the Member States, domestic transport emissions will only drop below their 1990 level in 2029. International transport emissions (aviation and maritime) are projected to continue increasing.
Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture in Europe
Greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture sector are covered by national annual emission targets. Between 2005 and 2019, the EU’s agriculture emissions remained stable. Current national projections only foresee a modest decline of 2% by 2030, compared with 2005 levels, and a 5% reduction with the implementation of currently planned measures. This projected progress remains largely insufficient and highlights the need for further action if Member States are to reach their binding annual targets and the EU its climate neutrality goal by 2050.
Greenhouse gas emission intensity of electricity generation in Europe
The greenhouse gas emission intensity of EU power generation keeps falling: generating 1 kilowatt hour in 2020 emitted, on average, one third less CO2 than it did just a decade ago. Policies addressing climate change, efficient and renewable energy supply and use, and industrial emissions have been essential in driving this shift towards less carbon-intensive energy supply. The COVID-19 pandemic also reduced electricity use in 2020, while the increase in renewable electricity supply caused a further drop in the greenhouse gas emission intensity of electricity generation.
Emissions and energy use in large combustion plants in Europe
Between 2004 and 2020, emissions from large combustion plants in the EU decreased: sulphur dioxide (SO2) and dust by 91%, and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 68%. Declines in emissions and improvements in environmental performance were largely driven by European policy, which sets legally binding emission limit values. The amount of fossil fuels used decreased by 26%, as energy production shifts to climate-friendly sources and coal is no longer the most used fuel in large combustion plants in Europe. Stricter emission limit values and policies aimed at increasing the use of renewable or cleaner fuels are expected to drive further declines in combustion plant emissions in coming years.
Greenhouse gas emissions from energy use in buildings in Europe
Historical greenhouse gas emissions from the EU buildings sector show a decreasing trend since 2005. This is the result of the implementation of higher standards for new buildings, measures to increase energy efficiency in existing buildings (e.g. through changing of heating systems, thermal insulation and more efficient heating systems), measures to decarbonise the electricity sector but also warmer temperatures. These reductions were partly offset by the increase in dwellings and by a larger average floor area in buildings. The trend in reducing emissions is expected to continue in the future, but a very strong increase in the renovation rate is needed to meet the overall EU 2030 emissions target.