Knowledge for better food systems

EU reports lowest green-house gas emissions on record

New official data from the European Union shows a 19.2 % reduction on GHG emissions on 1990 levels, suggesting that the union is within reach of its target to reduce emissions by 20% until 2020. Emissions fell by 1.3 % between 2011 and 2012, largely due to reductions in transport and industry and a growing proportion of energy from renewable sources. Italy alone accounted for 45 % of the total EU net reduction in emissions in 2012, largely due to lower emissions from transport and industry.

Read the full report on the final EU greenhouse gas emissions for 2012 here. You can also read more on the website of the European Environmental Agency here.

Note that the reduction in emissions within EU borders has been offset by the EU’s growing dependence on the production of goods and services in other regions.  This means that there has in fact been a net growth in EU related GHG emissions.

See for example:

  • this report for an analysis of the UK situation (which notes however that emissions would be even higher than they are now if low carbon policies had not been in place) 
  • and this PNAS paper for analysis of emissions in global trade (see Figure 3 in particular)

Other articles and reports on green-house gas trends can be found in the Research Library here.

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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