Greenhouse gas emissions increased in 2010 as a result of both economic recovery in many countries after the 2009 recession and a colder winter, according to figures released today by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Greenhouse gas emissions of the European Union’s 27 member states increased by 2.4 per cent – or 111 million tonnes CO2 equivalent – between 2009 and 2010.

This can be partially explained by the fact that there was a sharp 7.3 per cent ­decrease of emissions between 2008 and 2009.

The EEA says the EU remains fully on track to meet its Kyoto target. The long-term reduction trend continued, since EU-27 greenhouse gas emissions still remained 15.4 per cent below 1990 levels in 2010. Emissions in the 15 Member States with a common commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (EU-15) in 2010 were 11 per cent below the Kyoto Protocol base year. These consolidated figures confirm earlier estimates for the EU, published by the EEA in October 2011.

EEA Executive director Jacqueline McGlade said that “this rebound effect was expected as most of Europe came out of recession.”

“However, the increase could have been even higher without the fast expansion of renewable energy generation in the EU.”

As in previous years, the growth in the use of renewable energy sources continued in 2010 with a 12.7 per cent increase of total consumption of energy from renewable sources. In addition, gas prices fell markedly in 2010 and EU total consumption of gas used for energy purposes went up by 7.4 per cent. The higher share of gas led to an improved carbon intensity of fossil fuel consumption in many Member States.

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