Objective of the report
The objective of this report is to provide an early estimate of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the EU-15 and EU-27 for the year 2011. The official submission of 2011 data to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will occur in 2013.
In recent years, the EEA and its European Topic Centre on Air Pollution and Climate Change Mitigation have developed a methodology to estimate GHG emissions using a bottom up approach — based on data or estimates for individual countries, sectors and gases — to derive EU GHG estimates in the preceding year (t–1). For transparency, this report shows the country level GHG estimates from which the EU estimates have been derived. The 2011 estimates are based on the latest activity data available at country level and assume no change in emission factors or methodologies as compared to the official 2012 submissions to UNFCCC (which relate to emissions in 2010).
Some Member States estimate and publish their own early estimates of GHG emissions for the preceding year. Where such estimates exist they are clearly referenced in this report in order to ensure complete transparency regarding the different GHG estimates available. Member State early estimates were also used for quality assurance and quality control of the EEA's GHG early estimates for 2011.
Finally, the EEA has also used the early estimates of 2011 GHG emissions produced by EEA member countries to assess progress towards the Kyoto targets in its annual trends and projections report (due to be published alongside the present report). In that report, the EEA's early estimates for 2011 were only used for countries that lack their own early estimates to track progress towards national and EU targets.
Rationale for early GHG emissions estimates
The European Union (EU), as a Party to the UNFCCC, reports annually on GHG inventories within the area covered by its Member States (i.e. emissions occurring within its territory). National GHG inventories for EU Member States are only available with a delay of 1.5 years. Inventories submitted on 15 April of the year t therefore include data up to the year t.2.
The latest official EU data available (1990.2010) covering all countries, sectors and gases were released on 30 May 2012 (EEA, 2012a) in connection with the annual submission of the EU GHG inventory to the UNFCCC (EEA, 2012b). The inventory data include GHG emissions not covered by the Montreal Protocol . both from sectors covered by the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) and from non.trading sectors. However, whereas UNFCCC emissions run on a year t.2 timeline, Kyoto registries and EU ETS information is available on a year t.1 timeline. As such, verified EU ETS emissions are already available for 2011 (EEA, 2012c).
There are clear advantages in generating early GHG estimates for all sectors. Under the Kyoto Protocol, the EU-15 took on a common commitment to reduce emissions by 8 % between 2008 and 2012 compared to emissions in the base year. Total emissions from sectors included in the EU ETS are capped for the period 2008.2012, meaning that EU compliance with the Kyoto targets will be largely determined by the performance of non.ETS sectors, i.e. those sectors for which data are only available on a t.2 timeline. An early estimate of the previous year's emissions can therefore improve tracking and analysis of progress towards Kyoto targets, as is done in the annual EEA report on greenhouse gas emission trends and projections in Europe. Member States seeking to determine whether they need to use Kyoto's flexible mechanisms to achieve their targets also benefit from access to early data.