In 2021, quarterly greenhouse gas emissions within the European Union and its member states became available for the first time with estimates published from 2010 through 2022. These quarterly greenhouse gas emissions are compiled and published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union whose mission is to provide high-quality statistics and data on Europe. The data includes indicators that measure greenhouse gasses in three ways and are available by country.
- Quarterly greenhouse gas emissions are measured in thousand tonnes of CO2
- Quarterly greenhouse gas emissions measured in tonnes per habitant
- Quarterly greenhouse gas emissions are expressed in percentage change compared to the same period in the previous year.
Quarterly greenhouse gas emission estimates allow European countries individually and as a bloc to assess their progress towards net-zero emissions by 2050. In particular quarterly greenhouse gas emissions expressed in percentage change compared to the same period in the previous year captures trends in France’s emissions over time.
These quarterly estimates began in 2010 and have already revealed some interesting insights for France. Three years ago in Q4 of 2019, France emitted 116, 857 thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalent. While emissions had been trending upward since data collection began in Q1 of 2010, the past three years have shown a short-term deviation from this long-run trend.
For example, France’s lowest quarterly value occurred during Q2 of 2020 with a total of 83, 310 thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalent. This came at a critical point within the COVID-19 pandemic which saw a dampening of activity across a broad spectrum of economic sectors responsible for greenhouse emissions. This is a significant -23 percentage change compared to the same period in the previous year when France emitted 108, 770 thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalent in Q2 of 2019. As the economy rebounded however from this first year of the pandemic so did France’s emissions which rose to 104, 361 thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalent in Q2 of 2021, a 25 percent change from its lowest recorded value in Q2 of 2020. In Q1 of 2022, the latest quarterly emissions figures for France indicate 123, 688 thousand tonnes of CO2-equivalent which is a +5.341 percentage change compared to Q1 of 2021.
As a part of Climate Scorecards’ effort to develop proxy measures for monitoring trends in greenhouse gas emissions, the Eurostat data is a rich source of inspiration and comparison.
For example, Eurostat publishes data on the harmonized calculation of the share of energy from renewable sources used in the European Union and by each E.U. member state. This data shows the percentage share of energy from renewable sources overall and in three consumption sectors (electricity, heating and cooling, and transport). Renewable energy sources include wind power, solar power (thermal, photovoltaic, and concentrated), hydropower, tidal power, geothermal energy, ambient heat captured by heat pumps, biofuels, and the renewable components of waste.
In France, the percentage share of energy from renewable sources has steadily been increasing since data was first collected in 2004 indicating a 9.319% share until 2020 when the latest available data indicates a 19.109% share. In the three years preceding 2020, the percentage share has climbed from 15.847% (2017) to 16.384% (2018) to 17.174% (2019).
The increasing percentage share of energy from renewable sources reflects emissions trends in France which saw slight decreases in thousand tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over the same period 131, 116 (Q1 of 2017) to 128, 464 (Q1 of 2018) to 122, 469 (Q1 of 2019). Currently, data on the percentage share of energy from renewable sources is only available on an annual basis. The provision of quarterly data in the future will allow for a finer analysis of renewable energy shares as a measure that reflects trends in emissions.
“Eurostat Your Key to European Statistics.” Database – Eurostat, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/data/database.
This post was submitted by France Country Manager Liana Mehring