Eurostat releases estimates of quarterly EU greenhouse gas emissions

Today Eurostat releases for the first time estimates of the EU quarterly greenhouse gas emissions, including a breakdown of emissions by economic activity.
(Source: Unsplash, Anne Nygård)

The estimates cover all quarters from 2010 until the second quarter of 2021. This data will be published regularly each quarter from now on.

This is the first release ever of quarterly greenhouse gas emissions estimates for the EU. This is an important improvement in the timeliness of climate change related statistics and is part of Eurostat’s efforts to provide more and better insights into the EU green transition towards the aim to be a net-zero emission continent by 2050.

In the second quarter of 2021, EU greenhouse gas emissions totalled 867 million tonnes of CO2-equivalents (CO2-eq), below the pre-pandemic levels for any quarter. The lowest ever value was recorded in the second quarter of 2020, during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Greenhouse gas emissions in the second quarter of 2021 increased by 18% compared with the same quarter in the previous year. This is largely due to the effect of the economic rebound after the sharp decrease of activity in the same quarter of 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis.

In the second quarter of 2021, the economic sectors responsible for most emissions of greenhouse gases were manufacture and construction (34% of the total), electricity supply (19%), agriculture (14%), transport services (8%) and services other than transport (8%).

Households emitted 101 million tonnes CO2-eq for their transport (12%) plus 52 million tonnes CO2-eq for heating and other purposes (6%).

The greenhouse gas emissions in the second quarter of 2021 increased compared with the same period of the previous year in all sectors. The emissions by households for heating increased by 42% and for transportation by 25%. Emissions by manufacture and construction increased by 22%, transport services by 18%, electricity supply by 17% and services other than transport by 13%. The emissions by the agricultural sector remained almost unchanged (+0.2%).

Despite the effect of the economic rebound between the second quarters of 2020 and 2021, the long-term trend of EU greenhouse gas emissions displays a steady reduction.

The official climate monitoring and reporting along the UN rules provides annual data on EU progress towards its targets. The most recent data established according to the United Nations convention on climate change (UNFCCC) rules show that in 2020, EU27 domestic greenhouse gas emissions were down by 31% from 1990 levels.


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