Warsaw, Poland – Although overall CO2 emissions decreased in the EU last year, many Central and Eastern European countries continue to see their levels rising.
Earlier this week, Eurostat published the estimates of CO2 emissions from energy use in the EU in 2018. According to the statistical office’s preliminary findings, CO2 emissions – which account for 80% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions – decreased by 2.5% overall in the EU in 2018 compared to 2017.
The EU pledged to reduce its emissions by 20% by 2020 compared to their 1990 level and by 40% in 2030.
CO2 emissions decreased in 20 EU member states last year
The largest fall in CO2 emissions was recorded in Portugal (-9% in one year), followed by Bulgaria (-8.1%), Ireland (-6.8%), Germany (-5.4%), the Netherlands (-4.6%) and Croatia (-4.3%). Overall, CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion decreased in 20 of 28 EU member states.
Both the Czech Republic (-0.1%) and Hungary (-0.8%) managed to slightly curb their CO2 emissions last year compared to 2017.
But more than half a dozen EU member states saw their CO2 emissions increase last year, with the largest hikes reported in Latvia (+8.5%), Malta (+6.7%), Estonia (+4.5%) and Luxembourg (+3.7%).
Strong increase in CO2 emissions in Poland and Slovakia
With a respectively 3.5% and 2.4% increase of CO2 emissions in 2018, Poland and Slovakia also rank among the EU’s low achievers when it comes to curbing their carbon footprint – something particularly alarming given that Poland accounts for more than 10% of EU total CO2 emissions, the third highest contributor after Germany and the U.K., but ahead of France and Italy.
For comparison’s sake, the Czech Republic (3%), Hungary (1.4%) and Slovakia (less than 1%) account for a very small fraction of the EU’s total CO2 emissions, according to Eurostat.