21 May 2019
The EU statistics office revealed that the majority of EU countries reduced carbon dioxide emissions in 2018, with Portugal leading the way.
As Eurostat figures showed, Portugal’s emissions dropped by 9% from the previous year.
When all of the EU is taken into account, emissions from burning oil, coal and gas were 2.5% lower in 2018 than in 2017. A total of 20 countries out of 28 saw emissions drop. The most recent figures saw a significant improvement from 2017, which recorded a 1.8% increase in combined emissions from 2016; while only seven countries had their emissions decrease.
As BusinessDay reports, the EU vowed to decrease its carbon emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.
Wendel Trio, head of activist group Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, said: "After four years without substantial emission reductions, the EU has finally started to walk the road to the zero-carbon economy.
"To be able to avoid ever wilder extreme weather events, greater drought, food shortages and economic devastation, we need sharp falls in emissions every single year.”
Following Portugal’s great efforts, Bulgaria reduced its emissions by 8.1%, while Ireland dropped its own by 6.8% and Germany by 5.4%.
Meanwhile, Latvia stood on the other end of the scale, where emissions increased by 8.5% from the year prior. Among other countries, Poland also saw its emission rise to 3.5%. Poland’s less modernised system is to blame for this, as its coal-fired power plants generate most of the country’s electricity.
The EU is devoting great efforts to save the Paris climate agreement, with the intention of maintaining the worldwide temperature increase “well below” 25°C from pre-industrial times.