According to the greenhouse gas inventory published by the European Environment Agency (EEA), EU greenhouse gas emissions increased in 2010, as a result of both economic recovery in many countries after the 2009 recession and a colder winter.
Emissions of the EU-27 increased by 2.4 % (or 111 million tonnes CO2 equivalent) between 2009 and 2010.
Such trend was partly due to the economic recovery, as many European countries emerged from the 2009 recession. Higher final energy demand (+3.7 % in 2010) also contributed to the emissions growth. Moreover, the winter in 2010 was colder than in the previous year, leading to higher heating demand.
Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom accounted for 56% of the EU’s total net increase in GHG emissions. The relative growth in emissions was highest in Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Latvia. Spain, Greece and Portugal again reported lower GHG emissions in 2010.
“This rebound effect was expected as most of Europe came out of recession,” EEA Executive Director Jacqueline McGlade said. “However, the increase could have been even higher without the fast expansion of renewable energy generation in the EU.”
As McGlade pointed out, GHG emissions growth was contained by several factors. As in previous years the growth in the use of renewable energy sources continued in 2010 with a 12.7% increase of total consumption of energy from renewable sources. In addition, gas prices fell markedly in 2010 and EU total consumption of gas used for energy purposes went up by 7.4%.
In autumn the EEA will publish early estimates for the 2011 emissions in the EU, and also a Trends and Projections report, looking ahead to assess progress against emissions targets.
Earlier this year a new action has been taken by the European Parliament to fight against climate change: the Plenary Session has given its green light to a new resolution which supports the EU Commission road map providing a 80% reduction in greenhouse emissions for the EU27 by 2050, with two milestones: 40% by 2030 and 60% by 2040.