The global financial crisis and the use of renewable energies made an impact in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2009 in European Union member states according to the latest report of the European Energy Agency.
Comparing 2008 carbon dioxide emissions, the findings in the agency’s latest report showed that greenhouse gas emissions plunged to 7.1 percent in the E.U.-27 states and 6.9 percent in the E.U.-15 states in 2009, the latter comprising the bloc’s 15 original members.
In 2009, E.U.-15 emissions were 12.7 percent below base year emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. It constituted a net reduction of 542 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
The agency said greenhouse gas emissions in the E.U. have fallen consistently since 2004, and the sharp decline in 2009 accelerated the downward trend already observed in previous years.
Germany made the biggest cut on emissions among the E.U.-15, tallying a 25.4 percent reduction from the Kyoto Protocol 1990 base year.
Meanwhile, in the E.U.-27, Estonia, Romania and Bulgaria recorded the largest relative emission reductions – about 15 percent on average – compared with 2008.
«Although much of the decrease in greenhouse gases is due to the recession, we are starting to see the results of many E.U. and member states’ proactive policies in renewable energy,” the agency’s executive director Jacqueline McGlade said. “We hope that policy makers continue to build on this success to cut emissions further.”
The group noted that consumption of fossil fuels decreased due to the decline in energy demand that time. The demand decrease was mainly attributed to the economic recession and renewable energy use trend, particularly of wind and solar, for power generation.
Land transport emissions fell by almost 3 percent in 2009. Gasoline emissions slumped whereas diesel emissions fell for the second time since 1990.
The agency also said the use of biofuels contributed to lower emissions in 2009.
It also noted that the largest emission reductions occurred in industrial processes reflecting lower activity levels in the cement, chemical and iron and steel industries.
Year 2009 emissions from the sectors covered by the E.U. Emission Trading Scheme decreased by more than 11 percent compared to 2008.
Although emission levels dipped in 2009 in the E.U., the following year marked the highest recorded emissions made in history.
The International Energy Agency recently reported that last year, emission levels reached 30.6 gigatons, surpassing the previous record in 2008 which was at 29.3 gigatons. The group expressed doubts that governments would succeed in keeping the global temperatures from raising beyond the 2 degrees Celsius benchmark, saying that the goal had now become a difficult challenge.