European Union greenhouse gas emissions continued to fall in 2014, with a 4.1% reduction in emissions to 24.4% below 1990 levels, according to the European Environment Agency.
In absolute terms greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 1,383 million tonnes in the EU since 1990, analysts reported in the Annual European Union greenhouse gas inventory 1990–2014 and inventory report 2016.
“It is an important step towards reaching our 2030 and 2050 climate targets,” said European Environment Agency executive director Hans Bruyninckx. “To accelerate the transition towards a low-carbon society, we need to further boost our investments in technology and innovation aimed at reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.”
The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the 24-year period was due to: the growing use of renewables, the use of less carbon intensive fuels and improvements in energy efficiency, as well as to structural changes in the economy and the economic recession.
Also, Europe on average has experienced milder winters since 1990, which has also helped reduce energy demand.
Other key findings in the report include:
The reduction of 24.4% in greenhouse gas emissions was accompanied by a 47% increase in GDP.
Emission reductions were largest for manufacturing industries and construction (-372 Mt), electricity and heat production (-346 Mt), and residential combustion (-140 Mt).
Emissions from road transport grew by 124Mt from 1990-2014, and 7Mt from 2013-14.
Emissions from international transport (aviation and shipping), not included in national totals, increased between 1990 and 2014 by 93Mt.
Reduction in emissions of 185Mt between 2013 and 2014 was mainly due to lower heat demand by households due to the very warm winter in Europe.