Carbon emissions from EU’s energy use fell in 2020, analysis suggests
Image credit: Rudmer Zwerver/Dreamstime
Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion dropped 10 per cent in the European Union last year amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to estimates from the EU’s statistical office.
Its office, called Eurostat, said in a statement that emissions fell in all of the EU’s 27 member nations compared to 2019 as governments imposed lockdown measures to slow the spread of the virus.
Greece recorded the largest decrease (-18.7 per cent), followed by Estonia (-18.1 per cent), Luxembourg (-17.9 per cent), Spain (-16.2 per cent), and Denmark (-14.8 per cent). The countries with the smallest reductions were Malta (-1 per cent), Hungary (-1.7 per cent), Ireland (-2.6 per cent), and Lithuania (-2.6 per cent).
“The largest decreases were seen for all types of coals,” the office said. “The consumption of oil and oil products also decreased in almost all member states, while natural gas consumption decreased only in 15 member states and increased or stayed at the same level in the 12 others.”
CO2 emissions from energy consumption account for about 75 per cent of man-made greenhouse gases in the EU. The amounts produced are influenced by many factors, including economic growth, transport, and industrial activities.
As part of the European Green Deal, the EU has committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60 per cent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels. Brussels is also aiming to become climate-neutral by 2050. Scientists have said this goal needs to be achieved to keep average global temperatures from rising above 2°C by the year 2100.
In October 2020, an international team of researchers estimated that the world saw 8.8 per cent less carbon dioxide emitted in 2020 than during the same period in 2019 – a total decrease of 1,551 million tonnes.
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