BRUSSELS, May 4, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Carbon emissions from burning oil, coal and gas rose in most European Union countries in 2017, data showed Friday, in a sign the bloc was struggling to reduce greenhouse gas blamed for climate change.
The Eurostat statistics office said carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.8 percent across the 28-nation bloc last year over 2016, with the highest increases in Malta at 12.8 percent and then Estonia at 11.3 percent.
A total of seven countries registered decreases, with Finland having the sharpest drop at minus 5.9 percent.
It was followed by Denmark at minus 5.8 percent, Britain at minus 3.2 percent and Ireland at minus 2.9 percent. Germany, the bloc’s largest economy, saw a slight decrease of minus two percent.
Carbon emissions, a major factor behind global warming, account for around 80 percent of all EU greenhouse gas emissions, Eurostat said.
“They are influenced by factors such as climate conditions, economic growth, size of the population, transport and industrial activities,” it said, adding factors change yearly.
For example, in southern Europe, where there was a strong drought in 2017, coal burning often replaced hydropower.
The EU has vowed to lead the way in saving the Paris climate agreement since the United States, the world’s second biggest polluter after China, withdrew last year.
The pact aims to keep the worldwide rise in temperatures “well below” two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial times.
The EU has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.