Eurostat estimates that in 2019, the year before COVID-19 containment measures were widely introduced by EU Member States, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel combustion (mainly oil and oil products, coal, peat and natural gas) significantly decreased by 4.3% in the European Union of 27 Member States (EU), compared with the previous year. CO2 emissions are a major contributor to global warming and account for some 80% of all man-made EU greenhouse gas emissions. They are influenced by factors such as climate conditions (e.g. cold / long winter or hot summer), economic growth, size of the population, transport and industrial activities.
CO2 emissions from fossil fuels are generated in the country where the fuels are burned for purposes such as electricity generation, transport, steel production etc. Consequently, imports and exports of energy products have an impact: for example if coal is imported for electricity generation this leads to an increase in emissions in the importing country, while if electricity as such is imported, it has no effect on emissions in the importing country, as these emissions would be reported in the exporting country where the electricity has been produced.
This information on early estimates of CO2 emissions from energy use for 2019 is published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Largest falls in CO2 emissions from energy use in Estonia and Denmark, highest increase in Luxembourg.
According to Eurostat estimates, emissions fell in 2019 in a majority of EU Member States, with the highest decrease in Estonia (-22.1%), followed by Denmark (-9.0%), Greece and Slovakia (-8.9% each), Portugal (-8.7%) and Spain (-7.2%). Increases were estimated for four Member States: Luxembourg (+7.5%), ahead of Austria (+2.8%), Malta (+2.0%) and Lithuania (+1.6%), while CO2 emissions remained unchanged in Cyprus.
In 2019, a clear drop in solid fossil fuel consumption (hardcoal, lignite and oil shale and oil sands) is observed in many countries. The main reason for this drop is the substantially increased price of the EU emission trading system for emission allowances in 2019 compared to 2018 (> 25 € / t CO2). This system makes it economically less profitable to use solid fossil fuels mainly for electricity generation because they emit more CO2 per MWh electricity produced than other fuels e.g. natural gas. To compensate for the reduced use of solid fuels countries use more natural gas and more renewables for electricity generation and/or import missing electricity from other countries.