Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the European Union decreased slightly between 2005 and 2006 according to the official inventory report prepared by the European Environment Agency (EEA). Overall emissions within the EU-27 fell by 14 million tonnes (0.3%) and now stand 7.7% below 1990 levels. Total emissions in the EU were slightly more than 5.1 billion tonnes in 2006.
Emissions from road transport continued to grow, releasing 6.5 million tonnes of CO2 or 0.7 % more than in 2005. The rise was mostly driven by increased use of diesel for freight and passenger transport. Emissions of greenhouse gases from international aviation and shipping activities continued to rise sharply in 2006. Contributions from these sectors, currently not included under the Kyoto Protocol, rose by nearly 5 million tonnes (aviation) and 10 million tonnes (international shipping).
The main contributor to the decrease was lower consumption of gas and oil in households and services, which accounted for emission cuts of 16.6 million tonnes, particularly in Belgium, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. This was a result of reduced heating needs in Europe due to a warmer year in 2006, together with higher gas prices. Electricity demand remained largely stable in households.
The Annual European Community Greenhouse gas inventory 1990–2006 and inventory report 2008 published today, also includes the following key findings:
The net reduction in GHG emissions observed for EU-27 was mainly due to reduced emission of nitrous oxide (12 million tonnes CO2-equivalents) from chemical plants;
Overall emissions of carbon dioxide remained stable in the period 2005–2006;
Heavier use of coal for power and heat production resulted in an increase of 15.4 million tonnes CO2 from this sector in 2006. Poland alone accounted for an increment of 7.6 million tonnes of emissions from this sector;
Denmark and Finland experienced the biggest relative increase in GHG emissions (with 10.9 and 16.3% respectively), due to heavier use of solid fossil fuels for power generation;
EU-15 Member States cut emissions by 0.8% (or 35 million tones) in 2006 and account for 81% of the EU total. In 2006, EU-15 emissions were 2.7% below their levels in the base year (1990 in most cases)