The approximated greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories reflect estimates of emissions of the preceding year, for each EU Member State. The EEA and the European Commission use these early indications of greenhouse gas emissions to monitor progress towards climate targets.

What the data are telling us

  • GHG emissions in the EU continue to decrease in absolute terms, although emission increases are observed in some Member States. Emissions in the EU decreased by 3.7 % between 2018 and 2019.
  • Emissions in international aviation continue to increase and increased by 3 % over 2018 levels, in 2019.
  • The largest contributor to EU emissions is the energy sector, and this is where the largest relative decreases are also observed.
  • In the transport sector, emissions continue to increase.

The EU has set itself targets to progressively reduce its GHG emissions up to 2050, to net zero. Key targets are set in the 2020 climate and energy package and the 2030 climate and energy framework, which put the EU on a path to become a climate-neutral economy. These packages set targets in reductions in GHG emissions, improvement in energy efficiency and renewables. The GHG targets comprise the Emissions Trading System and national emission reduction targets covered by the ‘Effort Sharing Decision’. Progress towards these targets is regularly monitored and reported.

Monitoring and reporting progress towards the 2020 climate and energy package is achieved by implementing Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 (Monitoring Mechanism Regulation) and Implementing Regulation (EU) 749/2014. Progress is monitored by the European Commission and the EEA every year, when each country is required to report its emissions. From 2021 onwards, the annual progress reporting takes place in the context of reporting under the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action Regulation.

The approximated EU GHG inventory is an early estimate of EU GHG emissions for the preceding year. It is based on emission estimates reported by Member States by 31 July every year. If a Member State does not provide its estimates by that date, the EU inventory is complemented by its own estimates. Providing approximated GHG estimates provides a first glimpse of emissions for the preceding year, which allow timely analysis of progress to targets.

The approximated estimates cover all GHG emissions for all gases, sectors and Member States. They do not include emissions or removals from land use, land use change and forestry. Reporting on estimates of emissions from international aviation is not mandatory: if this is not provided by Member States, the gap is filled with information from Eurocontrol.