The original 15 European Union states (EU-15) achieved an average 2% cut in carbon emissions from 1990 to 2005, as compared to the total 8% cut that they are committed to achieve by 2010 under the Kyoto treaty. See the European Environmental Agency at Figure ES-2.
U-15 energy use actually increased by 17% during this period:
|Quadrillion BTU of Energy Consumed|
|Natural Gas Consumption||9.6||17.0||7.4||19.7||22.9||3.2|
|Hydro Electric Generation||2.7||2.6||-0.1||3.0||2.7||-0.3|
|Nuclear Electric Generation||7.2||9.0||1.8||6.1||8.2||2.1|
|Renewable Electric Generation||0.2||1.3||1.1||0.9||1.2||0.3|
|Electric Net Imports||0.1||0.1||0.0||0.0||0.1||0.1|
|Total for Categories Shown||57.0||66.5||9.5||82.3||98.2||15.9|
|Total per EIA||57.0||66.8||9.8||84.7||100.7||16.0|
The 2% (80 million tons) reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that the EU-15 countries have achieved between 1990 and 2005 is entirely accounted for by a shift from coal to natural gas (mostly through increased imports).
Coal generates 25.7 million metric tons of carbon per quad, while natural gas generates only 14.5. Multiplying 3.7 x (25.7-14.5) x 3.67 (one multiplies carbon weight by 3.67 to get carbon dioxide weight) one gets 152 million tons of carbon dioxide reduction due to fuel shift alone in the EU-15.
Without that shift, the EU-15 would show a net increase during the period. Also helping to offset rising energy consumption and CO2 were reductions in other green house gases — nitrous oxide and methane (see Table ES-3 in the European Environment Agency inventory report. Fuel consumption tables from the Energy Information Administration are compiled in this spreadsheet: world fuel consumption data.
Note: The fuel use changes above are consistent with estimates by the Energy Information Administration of EU-15 carbon emissions. These are 54 million tons lower in 1990 and 82 million tons higher in 2005 than the estimates from European Environment Agency. These differences are slight as percentages.
The table appearing further below shows that, while the United States has much higher levels of energy use and carbon emissions than the EU-15, the trends in levels are similar between the two regions. (Note that the newly entering EU states, former communist countries, had substantial drops in emissions due to factory closings.)
The EU-15 are an interesting comparison group for the United States as they are similarly affluent, with per capita income of $25,878, not too different from that of the United States, $35,373. (2000 information from cait.wri.org.)
The energy intensity of the two regions differ substantially — with the United States using 9.6 quads of energy per trillion dollars of economic production as compared to 6.4 quads/$trillion in the EU. In turn, the carbon intensity of energy use is also higher in the United States at 72 TGCO2e/quad as opposed to 65 in the EU, reflecting a much heavier reliance on coal.
Strikingly, the growth of fossil energy use and emissions in the transportation sector in the EU-15 exceeds the growth in the United States on a per capita basis. According to the European Environmental Agency, “Over the past decade, passenger transport demand has grown steadily in the EEA countries as a whole, thereby making it increasingly difficult to stabilise or reduce the environmental impacts of transport.” The EEA attributes this growth to income growth and notes that much of the travel appears to be for leisure purposes. About 80% of the passenger land transport was by car, according to the European Directorate of General Energy and Transport. For additional discussion, see trend analysis at page 63.
Although the transportation emission growth rates are similar, the levels are very different — the United States is much higher. Americans simply travel much more than Europeans — on average (excluding trips over 50 miles) 14,500 miles per person per year (2001 National Travel Survey, Highlights). In the United Kingdom, for example people travel on average 6,900 miles per year (2002 National Travel Survey) — taking fewer and shorter trips than Americans. Some of this may be to greater mobility associated with greater income; some may be associated with lower density. A significant impact must be attributed to the inefficiency of the United States passenger vehicle fleet: According to a July 2007 report from the International Council on Clean Transportation, United States carbon emissons per mile travelled for new passenger vehicles are over 50% higher in the United States (Figure ES-1).
|COMPARISONS BETWEEN THE ORIGINAL EU STATES AND THE UNITED STATES|
|15 Original EU States (1)||United States|
|Total Energy Consumption (Quad BTU) (2)|
|% change 1990 – 2005||17.1%||18.9%|
|% change 2000 – 2005||5.4%||1.7%|
|Population (000’S) (2)|
|% change 1990 – 2005||6.2%||18.6%|
|% change 2000 – 2005||2.5%||5.0%|
|Per Capita Total Energy Consumption (million BTU/Person)|
|% change 1990 – 2005||10.3%||0.3%|
|% change 2000 – 2005||2.8%||-3.1%|
|Total GHG Emissions — TG CO2e (ex. LULUCF) (3)|
|% change 1990 – 2005||-1.9%||16.3%|
|% change 2000 – 2005||1.4%||1.6%|
|Per Capita Total GHG Emissions (Tons CO2e) (ex LULUCF)|
|% change 1990 – 2005||-7.6%||-1.9%|
|% change 2000 – 2005||-1.1%||-3.3%|
|Transportation GHG Emissions (Tg CO2e) (4)|
|% change 1990 – 2005||24.3%||29.4%|
|% change 2000 – 2005||4.4%||6.2%|
|Per Capita Transportation GHG Emissions (Tons CO2e)|
|% change 1990 – 2005||17%||9%|
|% change 2000 – 2005||2%||1%|
|GHG Emissions in Residences (TgCO2e) (ex. Electric) (5)|
|% change 1990 – 2005||1.5%||5.4%|
|% change 2000 – 2005||1.6%||-4.0%|
|Per Capita GHG Emissions in Residences (TgCO2e) (ex. Electric)|
|% change 1990 – 2005||-4%||-11%|
|% change 2000 – 2005||-1%||-9%|
|Total Electricity Consumption (billion kwh) (6)|
|% change 1990 – 2005||31%||34%|
|% change 2000 – 2005||9%||6%|
|Total Electricity Consumption Per Capita (kwh)|
|% change 1990 – 2005||23%||13%|
|% change 2000 – 2005||6%||1%|
|Total Emissions CO2e from Electricity Generation (TgCO2e)|
|% change 1990 – 2005||6%||32%|
|% change 2000 – 2005||8%||4%|
|(1) European Union (EU — 15): Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.|
|(2) See related World Primary Energy Consumption and Population Pages in this excel spreadsheet: European comparison analysis.|
|(3) http://reports.eea.europa.eu/technical_report_2007_7/en/ annual%20European%20Community%20greenhouse%20gas%20inventory%201990-2005 %20and%20inventory%20report%202007.pdf, Table ES-3|
|http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/downloads06/07ES.pdf, Table ES-4|
|(4) http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/downloads06/07Energy.pdf, Table 3.7, US Data, excludes international transportation fuel — bunkers|
|http://reports.eea.europa.eu/technical_report_2007_7/en, Annex 5, table 1 — excludes bunkers|
|(5) http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/downloads06/07Energy.pdf, Table 3-6|
|http://reports.eea.europa.eu/technical_report_2007_7/en||Annex 5, table 1|
|(6) See World Net Energy Consumption in this workbook|
|(7) See note 5.|
To load the full spreadsheet, click European comparison analysis.