Decarbonization and the EU

The European Union has released its latest greenhouse gas emissions report, and on paper it looks good. Emissions are 9.3 percent below 1990 levels. But if you look closely at the data, there is perhaps less reason for optimism than the number, on its face, suggests, as Roger Pielke Jr. notes, the largest reductions in recent years have come in sectors not covered by the European cap-and-trade system. In the long run, the major reductions have come either in the former Soviet bloc, where economic collapse explains a large part of the reduction in emissions, or in German and the United Kingdom, where policies unrelated to climate change explain the emissions reduction.


  1. One thing that I am trying to keep straight is the underlying science for green house gasses.

    So in this case is a reduction in GHG emissions a good and sustainable thing, a palliative that does not really help, or a bad thing. For the European report, it feels as if the reduction in GHG emission is not sustainable and puts off the day of reckoning by a couple of weeks (because European GHG emissions are a small part of the worldwide total) not for a long time.

    If someone else is already doing the appropriate calculations and would be willing to share, please let me know.

  2. He really said that about Germany?? (Hint: Reunification and the shut down of E German industry helped a bit)

    More seriously the EU part of Europe started from a much lower base than the US and so 10% reduction is not a bad thing, esp. when you consider that most of the increases are from the industrializing edge (Spain, Portugal, Greece…..) who have now reached equilibrium with the old 6.

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