By John Ainger
The European Union’s greenhouse gas emissions tumbled at the end of last year even as the region’s economy grew, a positive signal for bloc’s efforts to meet its own climate goals.
Emissions in the EU fell by 4% in the fourth quarter compared with a year earlier, according to Eurostat data published Monday. Gross domestic product climbed 1.5% over the same timeframe.
It’s a positive indicator as the EU works toward its target of cutting emissions by 55% by the end of the decade, and further adds to evidence that the energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hasn’t led to a short-term increase. Emissions were 6% down compared with pre-pandemic levels.
The data show that 23 out of the EU’s 27 member states saw emissions fall, with Ireland — where rapid economic growth was mirrored by a 12% surge in greenhouse gas — a standout exception. Slovenia saw the biggest cuts and most member states achieved declines while growing their economies.
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Across the bloc, emissions decreased in six out of nine sectors, including a 10% plunge in electricity. The three exceptions were transportation and storage, services and mining.
Previous reports have shown that the EU managed to cut its energy demand significantly over the winter.