EU Smashes 2020 Climate Target, Records 34% Drop in Emissions to Lowest Level Since 1990

Frans Timmermans and John Kerry By Jadranko Marjanovic / Copyright European Union, 2022

Total greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union reached their lowest level since 1990, according to official EU data reported this week by the European Environment Agency to the UN.

The overall reduction in 2020 greenhouse gas emissions was 34% compared to the 1990 base year, or 1.94 billion tons of CO2.

Prior to the pandemic, the EU had already reduced its emissions by 26% in 2019 and had achieved its 20% target before the lockdowns started to impact emission levels.

Key drivers that led to emission reductions over the past three decades include the growing use of renewables, the use of less carbon intensive fossil fuels, and improvements in energy efficiency. Also, winters in Europe have become warmer.

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All sectors reduced emissions except for transport and refrigeration and air conditioning (although the latter have been decreasing in the last few years).

The EU continued to record substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions in 2020, posting an 11% drop compared to 2019.

The report revealed that almost all EU Member States reduced emissions compared to 1990 and contributed to the overall positive EU performance. Germany and the UK (which withdrew from the EU in February 2020) accounted for 47% of the total net reductions over the past 30 years.

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