Table of Contents
Since the industrial revolution, the concentration of various greenhouse gases has increased. For example, CO2 increased by more than 30% since pre-industrial times and is currently increasing at a rate of approximately 0.4% per year. This is mainly due to the combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation. The concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide are increasing as well due to human activities (industrial, agricultural). The concentrations of the nitrogen oxides NO and NO2 and carbon monoxide (CO) are also increasing, leading to an increase in tropospheric ozone. Emission sources of these gases include nitrogen fertilisers, combustion of fossil fuels, some industrial processes.
Halogen GHGs do not occur naturally in the atmosphere but have been introduced by human activities. They are strong greenhouse gases and have long atmospheric lifetimes. CFCs and HCFCs also deplete the stratospheric ozone layer.
This text is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace any reference documents.
Does the option affect the emission of greenhouse gases (e.g. carbon dioxide, methane etc.) into the atmosphere?
The 2009 EU energy and climate change policy package sets the "20-20-20" targets to be met by 2020:
- Cutting greenhouse gases by 20% (30% if international agreement is reached),
- Meeting 20% of our energy needs from renewable sources,
- Reducing energy consumption by 20% compared with projected levels through increased energy efficiency.
The EU's key tool for cutting emissions cost-effectively is emissions trading scheme (ETS). The scheme is based on Directive 2003/87/EC, revised and strengthened by Directive 2009/29/EC.
The “Effort Sharing Decision” regulates cutting emissions from sectors not covered by the EU ETS, such as transport, housing, agriculture and waste (Decision 406/2008 of the European Parliament and the Council).
The objective of increasing the average share of renewable energies in gross domestic energy consumption at 20% in the European Union by 2020 is implemented through the Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC). The target of reducing its energy consumption by 20% by 2020 is addressed in the Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (COM(2006)545) and in “Energy 2020 – A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy" (COM(2010) 639).
European Commission, Greenhouse gas monitoring and reporting, inventories: http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/g-gas/index_en.htm
EEA greenhouse gas data viewer: http://dataservice.eea.europa.eu/PivotApp/pivot.aspx?pivotid=475
Climate change is one of the main themes of the Eurostat Sustainable Development Indicators. Relevant indicators for which data by Eurostat is available are:
- Total greenhouse gas emissions
- Greenhouse gas emissions by sector
- Greenhouse gas emissions intensity of energy consumption
- Greenhouse gas emissions from transport activities
- CO2 emissions per capita in EU and in developing countries
European Environment Agency indicators, e.g.:
- Global and European temperature assessment
- Atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration
- Greenhouse gas emission projections
- Figures from IPCC Reports