Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel combustion have decreased by 2.5 percent in the European Union (EU) in 2018 compared to the previous year, the Statistical Office of the European Union, Eurostat, reported in a statement.
CO2 emissions decreased in 2018 in a majority of EU Member States, according to Eurostat’s first estimates released on Wednesday.
The highest decrease was recorded in Portugal (-9.0 percent), followed by Bulgaria (-8.1 percent), Ireland (-6.8 percent), Germany (-5. 4 percent), the Netherlands (-4.6 percent) and Croatia (-4.3 percent).
Increases in emissions were recorded in eight EU Member States, including Latvia (+8.5 percent), Malta (+6.7 percent), Estonia ( +4.5 percent), Luxembourg (+3.7 percent), Poland (+3.5 percent), Slovakia (+2.4 percent), Finland (+1.9 percent) and Lithuania (+0.6 percent).
Eurostat said in the statement that “CO2 emissions contribute significantly to global warming and represent around 80% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the EU”.
“They are influenced by factors such as climate change, economic growth, population size, transportation and industrial activities.”
The agency adds that “imports and exports of energy products – such as coal – have an impact on CO2 emissions in the country where fossil fuels are burned (…) while imported electricity does not have a direct effect on emissions of the importing country, but it affects the exporting country in which it was produced”.
Meanwhile eight European countries have called on the Brussels to dedicate one quarter of the EU budget to fighting climate change and aim towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 “at the latest”.
The statement, signed by France, Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden, comes ahead of a major summit of European leaders in the Romanian city of Sibiu, beginning on Thursday, which will discuss the future of Europe and the EU’s strategy for the next five years.
The paper also added that “as a general principle” the EU budget should not fund anything which would add to climate emissions.
At the moment, EU countries are required to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from their 1990 levels by 2020, with the aim of raising that to a 40 percent reduction by 2030, a target that the majority of EU countries are struggling to meet.