Greenhouse gas emissions from the European Union (EU) fell by 2.5 %, despite higher coal consumption and a growing gross domestic product (GDP), according to new estimates from the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Emissions fell even further in the 15 Member States with a common commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (EU-15), going down by 3.5 % between 2010 and 2011. Based on these EEA estimates, EU 2011 emissions stand approximately 17.5 % below the 1990 level. The EU-15 stands 14.1 % below the base-year level under the Kyoto Protocol.
The main reasons for the decrease in emissions were a milder winter in most parts of the EU, which resulted in lower heating demand from households, and reduced natural gas consumption. Renewable energy consumption also continued to increase in 2011, which contributed to the observed decrease in emissions.
The economic sectors not covered by the EU Emission Trading System (EU ETS) reduced emissions by approximately 3.1 %. The sectors contributing most to lower emissions in the European Union in 2011 were households and the service sector. The transport sector also contributed by reducing emissions for the fourth consecutive year. Emissions under the EU ETS were cut by 1.8 % in 2011.