The EU inventory of greenhouse gas emissions for 2005, published by the European Environment Agency, shows a 0.8% drop from 2004 levels for the EU-15 and a 0.7% drop for the EU-27 member states. This compares with a 1.8% increase in Gross Domestic Production in 2005 in the EU-27.

Germany, Finland, the Netherlands and Romania contributed most to the 2005 decrease in absolute terms with Germany reducing its emissions by 2.3% or 23.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents, Finland by 14.6% (11.9 million tonnes), the Netherlands by 2.9% (6.3 million tonnes) and Romania by 4% (6.4 million tonnes). Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Sweden and the UK also recorded falls.

The decrease in 2005 EU-15 emissions was due mainly to lower CO2 emissions from public electricity and heat production, households and services, and road transport.

CO2 emissions from public electricity and heat production fell by 0.9% due mainly to a reduction in the use of coal. Carbon dioxide emissions from households and services decreased by 1.7%, with substantial falls in Germany, UK and the Netherlands. One general reason for this was the milder than usual winter.

Among EU-15 member states Spain recorded the biggest emissions increase in absolute terms in 2005, with a rise of 3.6% or 15.4 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents. This was due mainly to a 17% increase in electricity production by fossil-fuel power stations, coupled with a 33% fall in electricity generation by hydro-power plants due to reduced river levels.

Poland saw the biggest emissions increase in absolute terms among the EU-12 member states, with a rise of 0.6% or 2.3 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents. Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal and Slovenia also saw emissions increases in 2005.

European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas welcomed the reduction but urged Member States to accelerate structural economic changes to ensure deeper, lasting emission cuts saying: “It is very encouraging that we are cutting emissions while the European economy grows strongly, but it is clear that many member states need to accelerate their efforts to limit emissions significantly if the EU is to meet its Kyoto target.”

Under Kyoto the EU-15 is committed to ensuring that its emissions between 2008 and 2012 average at least 8% below base year levels.

The EEA report on the greenhouse gas inventory 1990-2005 may be found at:

Related Articles
EC releases climate change figures
Over-allocation threatens ETS
WWF report raises fears of emissions trading failure