Increase in EU Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hampers Progress Towards 2030 Targets

Spotlight Activity: Increase in EU Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hampers Progress Towards 2030 Targets

Greenhouse gas emissions across the European Union rose slightly in 2017, mostly because of the transport sector. Preliminary estimates published in the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) annual ‘trends and projections’ assessments show a 0.6% emissions increase in 2017 from 2016. This limited increase means that the EU is still expected to achieve its 2020 emissions reduction target, albeit by a narrower margin. However, national measures will need to be urgently stepped up to achieve the EU’s new reduction targets for 2030.

The rise is mostly due to the increase of oil consumption from road transport. Aviation emissions from intra-EU flights, which are also included, grew by 4.5% in 2017 compared to the year before.

While total emissions from the entire EU remain below the 2020 target, the latest projections show that greenhouse gas emissions increased in more than half (17) of the EU Member States in 2017. The largest absolute growth in emissions occurred in Spain. Poland and France also saw large growth in emissions. The largest declines compared with 2016 occurred in Denmark, Finland and the United Kingdom.

Urgent action needed to achieve the EU’s 2030 targets

When the latest Member State projections are extended to 2030 and compared with the EU’s new binding target of at least a 40% reduction in domestic greenhouse gas emissions (compared with 1990 levels) by 2030, insufficient progress is shown by a vast majority of Member States. With current national policies, the pace of reductions is expected to slow after 2020 in EU ETS and Effort Sharing sectors, instead of accelerating.

According to reported projections, EU-wide reductions of emissions by 2030 will reach only 30% below 1990 levels, based on existing mitigation measures, and only 32% when additional planned mitigation measures are considered.

Only six Member States project emission levels below their respective 2030 targets under the EU’s Effort Sharing Regulation.

Status: Standing Still

A slight increase in 2017 emissions and a projected that the EU will miss its 2030 Paris Agreement target in reason to be concerned. The EU has made one of the most aggressive Paris Agreement pledges, and its role as a climate change leader will be diminished if it cannot live up to its pledges.

Take Action

Those concerned should send the following message to Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director of the European Environmental Agency:

While the EU remains on track to meet its 2020 emissions reduction target, updated data shows Member States cannot afford to take progress beyond that date for granted. The data clearly show a need to break further the link between emissions and economic growth. We know it can be done. Member States must plan and deliver on ambitious policies and measures if we are to meet our 2030 targets and our Paris agreement commitments.


Send Message to Mr. Bruyninckx c/o Eropean Environmental Agency;
Antti Kaartinen, Press Officer, phone 45 2236 1381

Leave a Reply


Climate Scorecard depends on support from people like you.

We are a team of researchers providing information on efforts to reduce global emissions. We help make you better informed and able to advocate for improved climate change efforts. Donations of any amount are welcome.