In 2021, COVID restrictions were lifted, and economic activity started recovering. Belgium returned to its past pollution habits.
In total, 25 out of 27 member nations of the European Union raised their CO2 emissions from energy use last year. On average, the European Union has increased its CO2 emissions from fossil fuels by 6.3 percent. Only Finland, which has decreased by 1.5 percent and Portugal (-5.5 percent) achieved emissions reductions.
The publication warns mentioned in the statement, “Carbon dioxide emissions from energy use are a major contributor to global warming as well as account for some 75 percent of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions in the EU.”
Moreover, in the previous year, some of the worst offenders for CO2 emissions from burning fuels included Bulgaria (+ 18 percent), Estonia (+13.1 percent) and Italy (+10.6 percent).
Much of the European Union’s consumption of fossil fuels goes towards generating electricity. The largest single source of energy all over the EU is the combustion of fuel, which produced around 40 percent of the total energy as of December 2021.
The total EU greenhouse gas emissions have already rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. In the fourth quarter of the year 2021, greenhouse gas emissions totalled 1,041 metric tonnes of CO2 equivalents (MMTCDE), increasing by 8 percent from the previous year. Household energy consumption is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, as per the Eurostat.
“In 2021, the increase in CO2 emissions was mainly due to the rising use of solid fossil fuels (which contributed to over 50% of the increase,” Eurostat highlighted.
Because of the high gas price in 2021, many electricity producers used coal and other dirty fuels to keep up with the electricity demand. This year, Germany restarted its coal-powered plants to keep up with rising demand and high natural gas prices.
Furthermore, the report concluded, “Liquid fossil fuels were responsible for over 29% of the increase, whereas 21% can be attributed to natural gas. The reduced use of peat slightly alleviated the increase in CO2 emissions.”