EU carbon emissions rise in sign of challenge ahead

The European Union’s total carbon emissions from fossil fuels rose last year by 1.8 percent, highlighting the challenge the bloc faces in meeting its climate targets.

The official EU statistics agency, Eurostat, released the early figures this week, which estimated the level of carbon emissions from energy usage across all 28 member states.

It showed that only 7 countries managed to decrease emissions, with the highest amounts seen in Finland, -5.9 percent, and Denmark, on -5.8 percent.

Germany, which has invested heavily in renewable energy, only saw slight reductions of -0.2 percent, given its continued use of coal plants to supply an estimated 40 percent of its electricity needs.

The largest increases in carbon emissions were found in Malta and Estonia, where levels spiked by 12.8 and 11.3 percent. Spain and Portugal also saw unwelcome jumps of over 7 percent.

While the news may provide frustrating reading for EU officials and member states alike, the overall picture is rosier. Emissions between 1990 and 2016 declined by 23 percent, which means the union is on course to meet its 20 percent target by 2020.

However, the long-term picture is much more challenging: by 2030 emissions should be cut by at least 40 percent on 1990 levels, rising to 80 percent by 2050 if dangerous climate change is to be avoided.

The EU has recognised the need to commit significant sums in response to these demands. Just this week, the European Commission put forward proposals to increase the amount it spends on climate change by €114 billion, representing 25 percent of its entire budget.

Whether this is enough to meet the ambitious goals of the Paris climate agreement remains to be seen. Many environmentalists, and French President Emmanuel Macron, believe it should be spending at least 40 percent in making the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Source: Eurostat

Photo Credit: shirokazan/Flickr

News published on Climate Action Programme
Consult the source

Moderated by : Sylvain Bosquet

Other news in "Information"

Major investors call for oil and gas groups to step up climate action

Published 21 May 2018 - 12:00

Sixty investors have urged the oil and gas sector to do more on climate change and “take responsibility” for its carbon emissions. In a letter to the Financial Times, the group of companies, including Aberdeen Standard Investments (...)

African cities commit to reaching zero carbon by 2050

Published 21 May 2018 - 11:55

At a meeting in Nigeria this week, nine African cities pledged to cut carbon emissions to zero within the next three decades. The cities include major Africa capitals and urban centres, such as Accra, Cape Town, Lagos, and Johannesbur (...)

Cities light the way with new manifesto

Published 21 May 2018 - 11:44

Representatives of the twelve smart city ‘lighthouse’ projects, recipients of a combined investment of €263.84 million euro from the European Commission, met to sign a manifesto of cooperation. This manifesto is an agreement between (...)


Search through the news

Enter your own key word

Other news


Most read articles