Eu Economy Greenhouse Gas Emissions: -3% in Q1 2023


In the first quarter of 2023, EU economy greenhouse gas emissions totalled 941 million tonnes of CO2-equivalents (CO2-eq), a 2.9% decrease compared with the same quarter of 2022 (969 million tonnes of CO2-eq). This decrease took place simultaneously with a 1.2% increase in the EU’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2023, compared with the same quarter of 2022. 

This information comes from data on quarterly estimates for greenhouse gas emissions by economic activity published by Eurostat today. Quarterly estimates of greenhouse gas emissions complement quarterly socio-economic data, such as GDP or employment. This article presents a handful of findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained article on quarterly greenhouse gas emissions.

Bar and line chart: greenhouse gas emissions by the economy and GDP, EU, Q1 2020-Q1 2023 (million tonnes of CO2 equivalents, chain linked volumes (2015) million euro)

Source datasets: env_ac_aigg_q and namq_10_gdp

In the first quarter of 2023, the economic sectors responsible for most greenhouse gas emissions were ‘households’ (24%), ‘manufacturing’ (20%), ‘electricity, gas supply’ (19%), ‘agriculture’ (13%), followed by ‘transportation and storage’ (10%). 

Data show that, compared with the first quarter of 2022, emissions decreased in 5 out of 9 economic sectors. The biggest decrease was registered in ‘electricity, gas supply’ (-12.3%). The main sector in which emissions increased was ‘transportation and storage’ (+7.2%).

Greenhouse gas emissions down in 21 EU countries 

Emissions in the first quarter of 2023 decreased in almost all EU countries when compared with the first quarter of 2022, except for Ireland (+9.1%), Latvia (+7.5%), Slovakia (+1.9%), Denmark (+1.7%) Sweden (+1.6%) and Finland (0.3%), where they increased. This group of EU members also saw their GDP increase.

The largest reductions in greenhouse gases were registered in Bulgaria (-15.2%), Estonia (-14.7%) and Slovenia (-9.6%). 

Bar chart: growth rates of greenhouse gas emissions by the economy and GDP, Q1 2023 (% change compared with the same quarter of the previous year)

Source dataset: env_ac_aigg_q and namq_10_gdp

Of the 21 EU countries that decreased their emissions, only 6 also decreased their GDP (Czechia, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, and Poland), meaning 15 EU countries (Portugal, Croatia, Belgium, Malta, France, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Romania, Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Slovenia and Bulgaria) managed to decrease emissions while growing their GDP. 

Methodological notes

  • Metadata on quarterly greenhouse gas emissions 
  • Greenhouse gases cause climate change. The so-called ‘Kyoto basket’ of greenhouse gases includes carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and fluorinated gases. They are expressed in a common unit, CO2-equivalents, as defined in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). 
  • The data presented here are estimates by Eurostat, except for the Netherlands, which provided their own estimates. Eurostat’s methodology differs from the monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions under the UN rules, which provides annual data on EU progress towards its targets. A main methodological difference is an attribution to individual countries of international transport and the corresponding air emissions. The Eurostat estimates include the international transport emissions in the total for each country, according to the international System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA).
  • The EU inventory is based on annual inventory reports by the Member States and is prepared and quality checked by the European Environment Agency on behalf of the Commission and submitted to the UNFCCC each spring. The period covered by the inventory starts in 1990 and runs up until 2 years before the current year (e.g., in 2021 the inventories cover greenhouse gas emissions up to 2019). According to the European Climate Law, the EU’s climate target is to achieve a -55% net reduction by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050.
  • EU countries are required to monitor their emissions under reporting rules based on internationally agreed obligations in line with guidelines from the IPCC. The reporting covers emissions of seven greenhouse gases from all sectors: energy, industrial processes, land use, land use change & forestry (LULUCF), waste, agriculture, etc. As parties to the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, the EU and Member States report annually on their greenhouse gas emissions to the UN (‘greenhouse gas inventories’).

Source : EC Europe