Historical emissions between 1990 and 2020 are based on data published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in its Data Viewer (European Environment Agency, 2022b). 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.
NDC and other targets
The NDC submitted by the EU in the name of the EU member states in December 2020 makes clear that civil aviation is included in the EU goal. 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 and the European Commission, 2020b).
The “Fit for 55” package of proposals 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 goal 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 and the Council of the European Union, 2021). 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.
Current policy projections
The assessment of the EU’s policy projections reflects both policies and measures implemented at the national level, as well as these adopted at the EU level but not yet transposed by the member states.
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 the member states before March 2021, with Denmark, Ireland, and Latvia submitting updated emissions projections in 2022. These projections constitute the basis for the “With Existing Measures scenario” (WEM Scenario) (European Environment Agency, 2022c).
The EU policies are derived from the Reference Scenario published by the European Commission in July 2021 (European Commission, 2021c). The scenario includes already implemented policies and adopted binding goals. As many of these goals—especially the energy efficiency and renewable energy goals—are binding at the European level and not all EU member states adopted measures to reach them yet, this scenario results in much deeper emissions reductions. The emissions are provided in GWP from AR5. We have converted them to AR4 for the sake of comparability.
Planned policy projections
The REPowerEU Plan includes the European Commission’s proposals to increase the share of final energy demand from renewables to 45% and reduce energy consumption to 750 Mtoe by 2030 (European Commission, 2022e). Assuming the existing energy mix for the remaining 55% of energy, we calculate that this would result in emissions level of 2,075 MtCO2e. The range between the proposals included in the ‘Fit for 55’ from July 2021 and the more ambitious renewable energy and energy efficiency goals suggested in the REPowerEU Plan from May 2022 constitute our planned policy projections.
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). For the EU, projections prepared in 2021 use GWP AR5, which are translated to GWP AR4 for the sake of comparability.
Subscribe to our newsletter