The EU’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by nearly 4% in 2019, data from Europe’s environmental watchdog has shown, largely driven by the heat and power sector.
The fall of 3.8% for EU member states in 2019 brought EU emissions to 24% below 1990 levels – or 26% if carbon sinks are taken into account – according to the European Environment Agency. The EU’s target is to achieve a 55% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.
The EEA said about 80% of the EU’s reduction in emissions in 2019 was from the heat and power sector. But the EU’s emissions from transport have continued to rise, meaning new policies and investment are likely to be needed to meet the bloc’s future emissions targets.
The confirmation of the EU’s emissions fall came as nations embarked on three weeks of online UN climate negotiations, to prepare for Cop26 in Glasgow in November – postponed from last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In normal years, the UN convenes two weeks of preparatory talks at its climate headquarters in Bonn, about six months before each climate Cop (Conference of the parties). This year, Covid-related travel restrictions mean the talks are taking place online for the first time, and have been expanded to three weeks.