Greenhouse gas emission accounting for EU member states from 1991 to 2012

Meirong Su, Stephan Pauleit, Xuemei Yin, Ying Zheng, Shaoqing Chen, Chao Xu

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Collectively, the EU is among the world's largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters, though remarkable decreases in GHG emissions have been observed in recent years. In this work the GHG emissions for the 28 EU member states between 1991 and 2012 are accounted for and compared according to the inventory method of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The structure of GHG emissions at a national level, their distribution between countries, and trends across the period are then analyzed. National emission sources and sinks are decomposed for each country to elucidate the contribution of each sector (energy, industrial processes, solvents and other product use, agriculture, land use/land-use change and forestry, and waste) to the national totals. Germany was the largest emitter, with net emissions totaling 939 Tg CO2 equivalent in 2012, 60% more than the UK and 89% more than France, the second and third biggest emitters, respectively. The energy sector and agriculture were found to be the largest sources of emissions in most countries. Four quadrants were established to compare countries’ performance in emission intensity, carbon removal rate, and net reduction rate of GHG emissions. Slovenia, Portugal, Sweden, and Finland were located in Quadrant II as they displayed relatively low emission intensities and high carbon removal rates. Conversely, Hungary, Greece, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, and Poland were located in Quadrant IV because of their relatively high emission intensities and low carbon removal rates. Some suggestions for integrating the annual results and the trends both within and among countries into national and regional emissions reduction strategies are also included. The unified accounting framework and analysis of the structure of GHG emissions may also be useful for other countries and regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-768
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Energy
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2016


  • Classified management
  • EU
  • Emission structure
  • GHG emission accounting
  • Sectoral source and sink


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