EU emissions fall to lowest level in three decades as countries ditch coal

The drop was mainly driven by the power sector, where emissions fell by almost 15%, primarily due to coal-fired power production being replaced by electricity from renewables and gas

The EU saw greenhouse gas emissions fall to the lowest level in three decades in 2019.

That’s according to latest statistics from the European Commission, which reveals emissions decreased by 3.7% year-on-year last year, while GDP grew by 1.5%.

Emissions have now been reduced by 24% compared to 1990 levels, with those covered by the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) seeing the greatest reduction in 2019, dropping by 9.1% – or around 152 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The drop was mainly driven by the power sector, where emissions fell by almost 15%, primarily due to coal-fired power production being replaced by electricity from renewables and gas, while emissions from industry decreased by nearly 2%.

Verified emissions from aviation, which currently only cover flights within the European Economic Area, continued to grow modestly, increasing by 1% compared to 2018.

Emissions that are not covered by the EU ETS, such as those from non-ETS industry, transport, buildings, agriculture and waste, saw no significant change compared to levels in 2018.

Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal said: “The European Union is proving it is possible to reduce emissions and grow your economy. However, today’s report again confirms we need to step up our efforts across all sectors of the economy to reach our common goal of climate neutrality by 2050.

“The transition is feasible if we stick to our commitment and seize the opportunities of the recovery to reboot our economy in a greener, more resilient way and create a healthy, sustainable future for all.”

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