In the fourth quarter of 2021, greenhouse gas emissions from the European Union totalled 1,041 million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalents (MMTCDE), slightly above pre-pandemic values in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to data from Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency.
According to quarterly estimates, renewed economic activity has led to a resurgence of emissions across the economic area. Greenhouse gas emissions in the fourth quarter of 2021 increased by 8% compared with the same period in the same period the year prior. In 2019, total emissions were 1,005 MMTCDE.
At the end of last year, greenhouse gas emissions were driven primarily by households (22%), manufacturing and electricity generation (both 21%), agriculture (12%), and transportation and storage (11%).
Last year witnessed increases in emissions from all sectors of the European economy, with the sharpest increases arising from transportation, mining, and electricity generation.
Eurostat assures that, despite the slight increase compared to pre-pandemic years, the long-term trend of emissions reductions is still continuing.
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In Belgium, emissions increased by around 13% between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the same period in 2021. In 2019-2020, Belgium achieved reductions of around 6%. Belgium saw the 7th largest increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the EU.
Eurostat notes that the emissions in Belgium were “noticeably more pronounced than the decrease recorded between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the same quarter of 2020.”
In 2020-2021, Estonia increased emissions by 28%, Bulgaria 27%, and Malta 23%. Other countries saw more modest increases in emissions. Greenhouse gases in Cyprus only increased 0.3%, Netherlands and Slovenia 2%, and Luxembourg 3%.
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. Since 2010, the economic area has reduced its emissions by 14%, whereas total emissions in the rest of the world rose by the same amount.