EU’s Carbon Emissions Spiked in 2017, Agency Reveals

A wind turbine overlooks the coal-fired power station in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, file)

(CN) – Despite hardline efforts to tackle carbon emissions and a prominent role in the Paris climate agreement, the European Union’s statistics office acknowledged Friday that emissions increased in 2017 due to a greater reliance on fossil fuels.

Seven of the 28 member states managed to cut their CO2 emissions, with Finland and Denmark leading the pack with declines of nearly 6 percent over 2016. But another 20 states saw greenhouse gas emissions rise, leading to a 1.8 percent increase EU-wide.

Estonia and Malta saw emissions spike over 10 percent, while five other member states reported increases of 5 to 10 percent over 2016 figures. Sweden’s data is currently under review and was not included in Eurostat’s report.

The agency noted imports and exports of energy products have an impact on CO2 emissions in the member state where the product is burned: If Italy imports coal from Switzerland and burns it in a power plant, the emissions produced are assigned to Italy rather than Switzerland.

Friday’s report comes on the same day the European Commission announced plans to improve auto emissions tests. While new rules took effect this past September – including real-word driving tests and improved laboratory testing – the commission said Friday it plans to require more frequent testing of vehicles already on the road and allow more testing by independent and accredited third parties.

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