Second report on EU contribution to the Global Budgets for CO2, CH4, and N2O updated annually

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The EU27 emitted 3.2 Gt of fossil CO2 per year in the period 2010-2019 and thus contributed 9% towards global fossil CO2 emissions. The average per-capita emissions of CO2 of the EU27 (6.6 t CO2 per capita per year) lies around 40% above the global average. The EU is a net importer of fossil CO2 emissions embodied in imported goods and services. Total consumption-based emissions in the EU27 were 3.7 Gt CO2 per year in this period, 15% above territorial emissions alone. The EU27 share of cumulative CO2 emissions since 1850 was 17% in 2018, substantially below its share in 1960 (27%). For the most recent period for which regional CH4 emissions estimates are available (2003-2012), European anthropogenic emissions of CH4 amounted to 24-25 Tg CH4 per year and represented 7% of global anthropogenic CH4 emissions. For the most recent period for which some regional N2O emissions estimates are available (2007-2016), European direct anthropogenic emissions of N2O amounted to 0.7 (0.4-1.0) Tg N per and represented 13% of global direct anthropogenic N2O emissions.

In simple terms, the EU27 contributes significantly to the global emissions of anthropogenic CO2, CH4 and N2O. Emissions of CO2 from the EU27 have been falling since the 1980s. The EU27 contributions to annual emissions and cumulative emissions have also fallen since the 1960s, in part due reduced EU27 emissions and in part due to emissions growth in other nations. Nonetheless, the EU27 exports a significant fraction of its CO2 emissions to other nations and its per-capita emissions remain above the global average.

An unprecedented 7% drop in emissions was estimates for 2020 as a consequence of responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, which included policies to significantly restrict mobility in many countries. The estimate drop for EU27 is for a particularly large fall in emissions in 2020 (11%), partly because of the stringent and extensive confinement measures in place, and partly due to the large contribution of the transport sector to total emissions in Europe.

The departure of the UK from the European Union impacts the contribution of the EU to global CO2 emissions. EU27 emissions were 19% lower than in the former EU28 (EU27+UK) in the 1960s, 14% lower in the 1990s, 12% lower in the 2010s and 11% lower in 2019. The difference between EU27 and former EU28 emissions declined throughout the time series as the UK’s share of EU28 emissions fell.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEuropean Commission
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2021

Publication series

NameVERIFY Project (EU H2020)

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