European Union carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2016 from overall fossil fuel combustion decreased by 0.4%, compared to 2015, according to estimates from the EU statistical agency Eurostat released May 4.
Germany, the EU’s biggest economy, increased CO2 emissions by 0.7% last year. The UK and Italy, the next two largest emitters, managed to reduce their emissions by 4.8% and 2.9% respectively. However next-placed France and Poland increased CO2 emissions by 0.9% and 1% respectively.
The biggest changes in CO2 year on year were in Malta (down 18.2%) and Finland (up 8.5%). Malta should see an even bigger reduction this year as it switches power generation from heavy fuel oil to natural gas; two weeks ago it held an event on April 24 to mark the end of using heavy fuel oil.
Graphic credit: Eurostat
Eurostat did not provide any breakdown of how much the above CO2 reductions were because of switching to gas. But France’s closure of 9 GW of its nuclear plants for maintenance late last year during a very cold weather snap led to increased burning of fossil fuels, including gas.
A month ago, gas industry association Eurogas estimated that CO2 emissions in 2016 specifically from the EU’s power generation sector fell by 4.5%, relative to 2015, because of major switching from coal to gas.