Energy-related CO2 emissions in the EU, down slightly in 2016

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Eurostat estimates that in 2016, CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion decreased by 0.4% in the EU, compared with the previous year. CO2 emissions are a major contributor to global warming and account for around 80% of all EU greenhouse gas emissions. They are influenced by factors such as climate conditions, economic growth, population size, transport and industrial activities.

Various EU energy efficiency initiatives aim to reduce CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases. It should be noted that imports and exports of energy products affect CO2 emissions in the country where the fossil fuels are burned. For example if coal is imported, this leads to an increase in emissions; while if electricity is imported, it has no direct effect on emissions in the importing country, as these are accounted for in the exporting country where the electricity is produced.

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Largest falls: Malta and Bulgaria; highest increases: Finland and Cyprus

According to Eurostat estimates, CO2 emissions rose in 2016 in most of the EU Member States, with the highest increases being recorded in Finland (+8.5%), followed by Cyprus (+7.0%), Slovenia (+5.8%) and Denmark (+5.7%). Decreases were registered in 11 Member States, notably Malta (-18.2%), Bulgaria (-7.0%), Portugal (-5.7%) and the UK (-4.8%).

Spain: increased emissions for the third year running

Energy-related CO2 emissions in Spain once again increased in 2016, up 1.6% on 2015 figures, according to data from the EU’s statistical office. This made 2016 the third year running to show an increase in such emissions (0.4% and 3.2% respectively in 2014 and 2015). The only positive aspect to highlight for last year is that the increase was much less than in 2015.

In line with data published by Eurostat, overall Spain represents 7.7% of energy-related CO2 emissions in the EU. Germany leads the field with over 22% of the European total, followed by the UK, Italy, Poland, France and Spain.