EDGAR database: EU’s emissions keep falling, as post-COVID rebound in world emissions continues

Posted by aclimaadmin | 28/11/2023 | Noticias del Sector

Driven by the consolidation of post-COVID return to economic activity, global GHG emissions continued to grow in 2022, reaching a record 53.8 Gt CO2 equivalent. After falling by 3.7% in 2020 as compared to the previous year due to the pandemic and its impact, emissions rebounded in 2021 (+4.8%), continued to grow in 2022 (+1.4%) and were 2.3% higher than pre-COVID values in 2022.

On the other hand, the EU’s 2021 rebound in GHG emissions (+5.6%) has been temporary in nature, and in 2022 the EU27’s emissions decreased by 0.8%, remaining well below the pre-COVID-19 levels and continuing their decades-long downward trend. Looking at the longer-term picture, the data shows that, among the top emitting economies, the EU has achieved the most significant percentage decrease of GHG emissions since 1990, strongly decoupling from economic growth.

Equally, the EU27’s share of global emissions has shown a sharp decrease over the decades, down from 14.8% in 1990 to 6.7% in 2022.

These findings are published in the JRC report GHG emissions of all world countries compiled in cooperation with the International Energy Agency (IEA). The report is based on the European Commission’s in-house Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR).

The report contributes to the Paris Agreement process with an independent quantitative overview of global GHG emissions based on a consistent IPCC Tier 1 approach. EDGAR complements, but does not replace national inventories of GHG emissions – mandatory for reporting and tracking progress under the Paris Agreement – making it possible to produce estimates that are comparable across countries.

In particular, the time series of EDGAR, available for all countries and for all anthropogenic sectors from 1970 until 2022 and from 1990 to 2022 for the Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector, can provide collective emissions trend information for all countries that will be needed for the upcoming 2023 global stocktake at the UN climate change conference COP28. In this context, EDGAR will be especially useful for comparison, including   for countries with lower quality inventories or inventories that are not recent.

GHG emissions across world countries

After 2021, when GHG emissions rebounded in almost all countries around the world, different evolution pathways emerged in 2022 among the world’s top emitters (here defined as countries accounting for at least 1% of global GHG emissions). In the EU27, the USA, Australia, Japan, Canada and South Korea, 2022 emissions were lower than 2019, the last year before the pandemic.

On the contrary, all other top emitters, including Turkey, China, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, India, Mexico, Iran, Brazil, and Russia, had higher levels of emissions in 2022 compared to 2019, showing that their upward trend of emissions continued after the 2021 rebound.

Looking further back, global GHG emissions from anthropogenic activities were around 62% higher in 2022 than in 1990, increasing on average by nearly 1.5% a year, although somewhat more slowly in the latest decade.

Overall, a dual picture emerges, with most of the developed countries having reached at least a plateau in their growth, and sometimes (as in the case of the EU) a clear decreasing trend. On the contrary, emerging countries – including those among the top emitting economies – have yet to peak their GHG emissions, decouple them from economic growth, and move forward to the achievement of their climate neutrality commitments.

GHG emissions per sector

Globally, power and transport remained the sectors causing the largest shares of GHG emissions in 2022 (27.5% and 15.1% respectively) followed by industry and agriculture (at almost the same level at 12.2%). In the EU, the power and transport sectors also dominate GHG emissions (at 23.6% and 21.7% respectively) followed by buildings (14.1%), agriculture (11%) and industry (10%).

Globally, Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF), resulted in a global net removal of approximately 0.18 Gt CO2 equivalent in 2022, equivalent to 0.33% of global GHG emissions of that year. This small net global flux actually reflects the difference between much larger removals (mostly from forest land) and emissions (mostly from deforestation and fires), each close to around 6 Gt CO2 equivalent.

In the EU27, LULUCF reduced its absorption capacity significantly compared to 1990, but nevertheless it is still an important net removal, equal to about 0.21 Gt CO2 equivalent in 2022.

Emissions from international aviation and shipping, which represented 0.8% and 1.4% of global GHG emissions in 2022, increased by 23.3% and 5.7% respectively compared to 2021.

Nevertheless, aviation emissions remained well below their pre-pandemic levels (-32.1% as compared to 2019), while international shipping emissions grew by 2.2% over the same period.


Most countries around the world have established or are preparing plans and implementing actions to tackle climate change. The EU has set its own ambitious objectives through policies and legislation under the European Green Deal and the European Climate Law. These include reducing its net domestic GHG emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and becoming climate-neutral (net-zero GHG emissions) by 2050.

The report provides country fiches with the time series of GHG emissions from all anthropogenic activities except land use, land-use change, forestry and large-scale biomass burning. The data used in this report consists of the IEA-EDGAR CO2, EDGAR CH4, EDGAR N2O and EDGAR F-gases version 8.0. An IPCC-based bottom-up emission calculation methodology is applied to all countries, demonstrating that consistent inventories can be developed for all countries within the limitations of the quality of the available statistical data.

Information about national inventories of GHG emissions methodology

The EU inventory is based on annual inventory reports by the Member States and is prepared and quality checked by the European Environment Agency (EEA) on behalf of the Commission and submitted to the UNFCCC each spring. The period covered by the inventory starts in 1990 and runs up until two years before the current year (e.g., in 2021 the inventories cover greenhouse gas emissions up to 2019). According to the European Climate Law, the EU’s climate target is to achieve 55% net reduction by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050.

EU countries are required to monitor their emissions under reporting rules based on internationally agreed obligations in line with guidelines from the IPCC. The reporting covers emissions of seven greenhouse gases from all sectors: energy, industrial processes, land use, land use change & forestry (LULUCF), waste, agriculture, etc. As parties to the UNFCCC, its Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, the EU and Member States report annually on their greenhouse gas emissions to the UN (‘greenhouse gas inventories’).

Fuente: Comisión Europea

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