We have modified our data projections for the EU to reflect policy developments, essentially incorporating what our November 2022 update showed as planned policies, which have since been adopted. We have not updated our historical emissions to reflect the latest inventory data. We will update our projections for the EU fully later this year after the publication of the “Trends and Projections” by the European Environment Agency in the Q3 of 2023.
Historical emissions between 1990 and 2020 are based on data published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in its Data Viewer (European Environment Agency, 2023). For 2021 (excl. LULUCF), we used data published by PRIMAP to calculate the growth rate between 2020 and 2021 emissions and applied this growth rate to the 2020 EEA emissions (Gütschow et al., 2022).
Data for 1990-2020 is also taken from the European Environment Agency (EEA) Data Viewer (European Environment Agency, 2023).
Note: More recent historic data until 2021 is now available on the EEA site, though this data uses AR5 GWP values.
The December 2020 NDC submitted by the EU on behalf of its member states makes clear that civil aviation is included in the EU target. While it states that emissions are calculated “including emissions from outgoing flights that start in the EU, on the basis of fuels sold in the EU”, it also underlines that “(t)his information is subject to revision in light of the enhanced target”. Similarly, “domestic waterborne navigation” is to be included in the same way as it is reflected in the EU’s inventories. Also “(t)his information is subject to revision in light of the enhanced target”(Germany & European Commission, 2020).
The “Fit for 55” package clarifies how emissions from aviation and maritime transport are to be covered in the EU’s climate policy framework. The impact of the package on emissions is quantified by the Commission in three policy scenarios published in July 2021. Out of these three, the REG scenario in the best way represents the climate policy architecture and specific measures presented by the Commission. It has therefore been used as the basis to quantify the EU’s NDC target.
The EU’s emissions reduction target of reducing emissions in 2030 by “at least 55%” in comparison to 1990 has been expressed as net emissions. The European Climate Law adopted in May 2021 specifies that a maximum of 225 MtCO2e can be used to account for meeting this goal (European Parliament & Council of the European Union, 2018). The Commission’s modelling already takes this into account and presents the emissions excluding LULUCF. To calculate the emissions reduction goal excluding LULUCF and excluding international aviation and navigation, this value is compared to EU’s emissions, excluding LULUCF, in 1990.
It remains unclear, however, whether the increase in the size of the sink to 310 MtCO2e in the LULUCF Regulation adopted in early 2023 changes this limit. To reflect this uncertainty, we present the EU NDC as a range. The EU’s updated NDC should clarify this issue. Increasing the sink would weaken emissions reduction in the non-LULUCF sectors.
Current policy projections
The assessment of the EU’s policy projections reflects both policies and measures implemented at the national level (the top end of our range), as well as these adopted at the EU level but not yet transposed by the member states (the bottom end of our range).
To reflect policies adopted at the national level, we use the compilation of national projections prepared by the European Environment Agency (EEA). This compilation uses projections prepared by most member states in 2021, though Denmark, Ireland, and Latvia submitting updated emissions projections in 2022. These projections constitute the basis for the “With Existing Measures scenario” (WEM Scenario) which the EU reported on in its most recent Biennial Report (European Environment Agency, 2022).
To calculate the bottom end of the range, we started with the 2030 emissions estimates provided by the European Commission in its initial modelling of the higher emissions reduction goal published in 2021 (European Commission, 2021f). This modelling assumed a final energy consumption of 773 Mtoe and a renewable energy share of 40%. We calculated the emissions intensity for energy CO2 emissions and then adjusted this figure to reflect the higher renewable energy share recently adopted by the EU (42.5%). We used this revised emissions intensity value and the updated final energy consumption target of 763 Mtoe to calculate energy CO2 emissions. We used the 2019 ratio between energy CO2 and all gases to estimate total emissions. We interpolated the data between our 2021 historic emissions estimate and the 2030 value to complete the time series.
The figures provided in the Modelling of the scenario reflecting EU’s 55% goal are in AR5 values. We converted this to AR4 using a conversion factor based on the three main gases in 2019.
Planned policy projections
We applied the same methods as used for the bottom end of our current policy projection, but used the indicative additional target included the Renewable Energy Directive of 2.5% (or 45% share total).
Global Warming Potentials
The CAT uses Global Warming Potential (GWP) values from the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) for all its figures and time series. Assessments completed prior to December 2018 (COP24) used GWP values from the Second Assessment Report (SAR).
Some of the EU data used in our calculations is based on AR5 values. Please see the individual sections above for our conversion methods.