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Aviation emissions up 110% since 1990

19th November, 2010

EU Transport emissions are up 34% since 1990 and aviation emissions up 110%, a report by Transport & Environment (T&E) shows.     

1990 is the base year against which emissions of greenhouse gases are reported in the Kyoto protocol and succeeding agreements. Annual data is compiled by the EEA (European Environment Agency) and submitted to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) on the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, the return usually leave out emissions from international shipping and aviation (so-called ‘bunkers’).

To complement the 2008 data, T&E have carried out an analysis which includes shipping and aviation figures. This clarifies the actual contribution of the transport sector to the EU’s CO2 emissions.

Findings include:

Between 1990 and 2008, transport emissions increased by 34% while emissions from other sectors decreased by 14%. [In 2008] Compared with 2007 transport emissions decreased by 1.6% and those of other sectors by 2.2%.

Consequently, the share of transport in total emissions rose further from 28 to 29%; in 1990 the share of transport was 21%;

Emissions from international aviation and shipping (both outside Kyoto) have risen by 110% and 56% respectively. Emissions from aviation were unchanged in 2008, those of shipping dropped by 2.1% compared with 2007;

In 2008 aviation and shipping accounted for 7.0% of total CO2 emissions, and 24% of transport emissions. In 1990, these figures were 3.8% and 18% respectively.

Without taking bunker emissions into account, the EU’s total CO2 emission compared to 1990 have decreased by 7.1%. However, if bunker fuel emissions are taken into account, the reduction is only about half that figure (3.9%).

These figures are the result of a decrease in non-transport emissions of 13.6%, and an increase of transport CO2 emissions by 33.7%.

Growth and share of international aviation and shipping

International bunkers play an important role in the increased share of the transport sector in overall emissions. Emissions from international aviation and shipping have been growing at higher rates than those of transport as a whole.

The following figures present the evolution of international aviation and shipping CO2 emissions since 1990.

Emissions from international aviation more than doubled between 1990 and 2008 (growth of 110%), with a stabilisation in 2008. The average annual emission growth since 1990 has been 4.2%.

Emissions from international maritime transport have increased by 56% since 1990, with a decrease of 2.1% in 2008 compared with 2007. Average annual emission growth since 1990 has been 2.5%.

The share of emissions from bunkers in the total continues to increase. In 2008 they grew from 6.9 to 7.0% of the total, and from 24.3 to 24.4% of EU transport CO2 emissions. In 1990, these figures were 3.8% and 18% respectively.

T&E report (pdf, 5 pages)