EU economy greenhouse gas emissions in Q3 2022

February 15, 2023

In the third quarter of 2022, EU economy greenhouse gas emissions totalled 854 million tonnes of CO2-equivalents (CO2-eq), a 2% increase compared with the same quarter of 2021. This increase is largely related to the effect of the economic rebound leading to gross domestic product (GDP) growth after the sharp decrease in activity due to the COVID-19 crisis. In fact, compared with the pre-pandemic third quarter of 2019, EU economy greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 4% (from 889 to 854 million tonnes of CO2-eq).

This information comes from data on quarterly estimates for greenhouse gas emissions by economic activity published by Eurostat today. Quarterly estimates of greenhouse gas emissions complement quarterly socio-economic data, such as GDP or employment. This article presents a handful of findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained article on quarterly greenhouse gas emissions.

In the EU, GDP grew slightly more than greenhouse gas emissions in the third quarter of 2022 compared with the same quarter in 2021 (+2% for greenhouse gas emissions, +3% for GDP). Most EU countries saw a growth in both GDP and emissions, but some countries even managed to decrease emissions while GDP grew.

In the third quarter of 2022, the economic sectors responsible for the most greenhouse gas emissions were ‘manufacturing’ (23%), ‘electricity, gas supply’ (21%), ‘households’ and ‘agriculture’ (both 14%), followed by ‘transportation and storage’ (13%).

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Methodological notes: 

  • Metadata on quarterly greenhouse gas emissions 
  • Greenhouse gases cause climate change. The so-called ‘Kyoto basket’ of greenhouse gases includes carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and fluorinated gases. They are expressed in a common unit, CO2-equivalents.
  • The data presented here are estimates by Eurostat, except for the Netherlands and Sweden, who provided their own estimates. Eurostat’s methodology differs from the monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions under the UN rules, which provides annual data on EU progress towards its targets. A main methodological difference is an attribution to individual countries of international transport and the corresponding air emissions. The Eurostat estimates include the international transport emissions in the total for each country, according to the international System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA).
  • The EU inventory is based on annual inventory reports by the Member States and is prepared and quality checked by the European Environment Agency 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 2 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’).