Greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2.5% last year despite growing GDP and coal consumption, according to the latest estimates by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Across the 15 member states (EU-15) covered by the Kyoto Protocol, the decrease between 2010 and 2011 was even greater at 3.5%.
Based on the current trend, EU emissions in 2011 will be 17.5% below 1990 levels and the EU-15 will be at 14.1% below the base-year level under the Kyoto Protocol.
Meanwhile, sectors not covered by the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) saw emissions fall approximately 3.1%, mainly through reductions from the domestic and service sectors, with transport emissions falling for the fourth consecutive year.
But while an increase in renewable energy consumption contributed to the decrease in emissions, the EEA put the main reason for the fall down to the mild winter, which led to a lowered heating demand from households and cut gas consumption.
Further details of 2011 emission estimates for the region and individual member states will be published in a technical report next month.
For further information:
EU and Australia set out plans to link carbon trading schemes (5-Sept)
Cold winter and economic recovery drive rising EU emissions (30-May)
European ‘traded’ emissions down 2% in 2011 (17-May)
10 September 2012