In 2022, the European Union (EU) registered a noteworthy reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions derived from fossil fuel combustion, with Luxembourg second only to the Netherlands with a significant decrease, as revealed by the latest estimates from Eurostat.
According to the statistics agency, total CO2 emissions from energy utilisation in the EU territory, generated from the combustion of oil, oil products, natural gas, coal and peat, dropped by 2.8% to approximately 2.4 Gigatons (Gt).
This marked progression in the bloc's efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, as CO2 emissions from such energy use account for nearly 75% of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions within the EU.
The CO2 emissions metrics are influenced by a multitude of factors, such as the fuel composition, housing standards, the rate of economic expansion, population size, as well as transportation and industrial operations. Notably, the use of imported natural gas for electricity production can result in higher emissions within the importing country.
In contrast, imported electricity does not affect the importer's emission count, as these are attributed to the country of production.
To delve deeper into the dynamics, one needs to consider the imports and exports of various primary and derived energy products, commodities like iron and steel that contain embedded emissions, and fuel tourism, which involves fuel consumption in a different country from where it was purchased.
Luxembourg achieves substantial decline in CO2 emissions amidst overall EU reduction
In total, 17 EU nations succeeded in reducing their CO2 emissions from territorial energy use in 2022.
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg achieved a 12% reduction, surpassed only by the Netherlands with a 12.8% decrease. Belgium and Hungary also contributed to the effort, with CO2 emission reductions of 9.7% and 8.6% respectively.
However, not all EU countries were able to curb their CO2 emissions. Bulgaria saw a sharp 12% increase in CO2 emissions, followed by Portugal with a 9.9% rise and Malta registering a 4.1% increment.
In 2022, Germany held the dubious honor of contributing one-quarter of the EU's total CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion for energy use. Italy and Poland followed closely, each accounting for 12.4% of the emissions, while France produced 10.7%.
Analysing the aggregated data, emissions from solid fossil fuels (excluding peat) saw a slight uptick at the EU level, while emissions from oil and petroleum products remained steady.
Meanwhile, CO2 emissions from natural gas consumption dropped considerably, which may be attributed to concerted efforts by EU countries to meet the voluntary gas demand reduction target introduced in August 2022.