In 2019, the European Union emitted around 3.1 gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2, accounting for just under 9% of all global emissions for that year, according to statistics from the EU’s statistics agency Eurostat.
In total, the EU reduced its emissions by 14% compared to 2010, whereas total emissions from the rest of the world in the same period increased by the same amount.
Eurostat also estimates that the volume of CO2 emitted across the rest of the world, released in the production of goods and services destined for the EU, amounted to 0.9Gt. Since 2010, this figure has reduced by 8%. For emissions towards the EU’s domestic consumption, 2.5Gt were released in 2019, down 16%.
In total, the EU is a net importer of “embodied CO2” emissions, meaning that more emissions were produced abroad for goods sent to the EU than CO2 released at home for exports.
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By far the largest import of embodied CO2 emissions to the EU are from China (27% of total global emissions). In 2019, nearly 250,000 kilotonnes (Kt) were imported for EU consumption. This is still significantly less than in 2010 when this statistic was nearly 300,000Kt.
The second-largest import of embodied CO2 emissions came from Russia. Despite the war in Ukraine, the EU is heavily reliant on the import of Russian natural resources and energy, which carry a hefty carbon price tag.
In Belgium, it is hoped that greater digitalisation in four key industrial sectors will cut CO2 emissions by up to 10% by 2030. Even simple trends, such as increased working from home, can help companies save up to 145 tonnes of carbon per year.