The proxy measure I have decided to use is air emissions from greenhouse gases due to economic activity in the EU. This information is updated quarterly. Economic activity is defined as the total greenhouse gas emissions that are produced in the EU due to agriculture, forestry, and fishing; mining and quarrying; manufacturing; electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply; water supply and sewage, waste management and remediation activities; construction; services (except transportation and storage); and transportation and storage.
This measure is valuable in that it illustrates the role that the EU’s economy is currently playing in the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted and the progress that still needs to be made in order to make its economy greener. It demonstrates the need for greener technologies to be introduced and implemented in the EU that allows for efficient production that can stimulate economic growth without coming at the cost of increased emissions and environmental harm.
Eurostat provides the data for this proxy measure. Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union and uses the annual air emission accounts that are mandated by the EU in Regulation (EC) No. 691/2011 to produce model-based quarterly estimates.
The first graph below demonstrates how air emissions from greenhouse gases, due to economic activity in the EU, have changed between Q4 of 2019 and now, air emissions due to economic activity decreased between Q4 of 2019 to Q2 of 2020 and increased after this until Q1 of 2021, decreased again until Q3 of 2021, increased until Q4 of 2021, and then decreased slightly between Q4 of 2021 and Q1 of 2022. (As a side note, Eurostat put the wrong titles on the x-axis of the graph I posted below. The x-axis labels on the line graph should go in sequential order, so the first point on the graph shows the data for Q4 of 2019, the second point is showing the data for Q1 of 2020, the third point is showing the data for Q2 of 2020, etc.).
The most recent data detailing total greenhouse gas emissions in the EU excluding Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry (LULUCF) stops in 2020, as the second graph below shows. This graph highlights that greenhouse gas emissions sharply decreased between 2019 to 2020 in the EU, and given that the level of air emissions due to economic activity during all four quarters of 2020 never reached the level of air emissions that occurred in Q4 of 2019, the lesser overall level of air emissions correlates with the decline in the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions. However, given that less production occurred in the EU in 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis, it is likely that once the EU’s 2021 total greenhouse gas emissions data has been verified it will show that total greenhouse gas emissions increased between 2020 and 2021, as did the EU’s cumulative air emissions due to economic activity.
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Image Courtesy of: https://euobserver.com/health-and-society/147948
This post was submitted by EU Country Manager Brittany Demogenes