COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The European Union announced its total greenhouse gas emissions in 2011 were 18.4 percent below 1990 levels, according to the EU greenhouse gas inventory.

When international aviation is included, greenhouse gas emissions fell 17 percent over the same time period.

“The greenhouse gas emissions cut in 2011 is good news, however, it was largely due to a warmer winter,” said Jacqueline McGlade, executive director, European Environment Agency (EEA). “Nonetheless, the EU is making clear progress towards its emission targets. There was an increase in consumption of more carbon-intensive fuels such as coal, while hydroelectricity production and gas consumption decreased. If Europe is to achieve the transition toward a low-carbon society, it will need sustained investment in technology and innovation.”

The officially reported 2011 emissions were 3.3 percent lower than the previous year (because of a mild winter, which led to a lower demand for heating), while the EU experienced a 1.6 percent growth in gross domestic product.

The reduction in emissions is larger than EEA’s estimates published last year, because the extent of the reduced heating demand only became apparent when complete and final energy data became available. The highest emissions reductions were from homes and commerce.

Publication date: 7/1/2013

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