CO2 emissions from energy use are a major contributor to global warming and account for around 75% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. The fuel mix, housing standards, economic growth, size of the population, and transport and industrial activities are some factors that influence CO2 emissions from energy use.
CO2 emissions are emitted when fossil fuels are combusted. For example, using imported natural gas for electricity generation leads to an increase in emissions in the country that imported the gas. In contrast, electricity imports do not affect the country’s emissions, as these are reported in the country where the electricity was produced. A more in-depth analysis needs to take into account all imports and exports of different primary and derived energy products, commodities with embedded emissions (such as iron and steel), as well as, in the case of transport, fuel tourism (i.e., fuelling a vehicle in one country but consuming that fuel in another country).
In 2022, CO2 emissions from territorial energy use decreased in 17 EU countries. The largest decrease was registered in the Netherlands (-12.8%), followed by Luxembourg (-12%), Belgium (-9.7%) and Hungary (-8.6%).
On the other end, Bulgaria registered the biggest increase in CO2 emissions (+12%), followed by Portugal (+9.9%) and Malta (+4.1%).
Data show that Germany alone accounts for one-quarter of the EU’s total CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion for energy use. Italy and Poland (each 12.4%), and France (10.7%) came next on the EU’s list of the biggest CO2 emitters in 2022.
In 2022, aggregated data shows that CO2 emissions from solid fossil fuels (coal and oil shale, excluding peat) slightly increased at the EU level (+3 percentage points; pp.), whereas emissions from oil and petroleum products remained at approximately the same level as in 2021 (+1 pp). On the other hand, CO2 emissions from natural gas decreased significantly (-13 pp), reflecting, among other things, the efforts invested by EU countries to achieve the voluntary gas demand reduction target introduced in August 2022.