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European Union's carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels reach the lowest level in 60 years.
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European Union’s carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels reach the lowest level in 60 years.

The Guardian has uncovered that in 2023, the European Union released 8% less carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels compared to the previous year, resulting in the lowest emissions in 60 years.

According to analysis conducted by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (Crea), the decrease in pollution that contributes to global warming is the largest annual decline to date, second only to the drop seen in 2020 when governments implemented measures such as shutting down factories and limiting air travel to contain the spread of Covid-19.

“EU CO2 emissions have finally fallen back to levels apparent in my parents’ generation in the 1960s,” said Isaac Levi, an analyst at Crea. “Yet, over this time period, the economy has tripled – showing that climate change can be combated without foregoing economic growth.”

The report revealed that over 50% of the decrease in emissions was due to utilizing cleaner electricity. According to industry data, the EU saw a significant increase in the construction of solar panels and wind turbines in 2023, allowing for greater production of electricity from dams and nuclear power plants that had been affected by drought and maintenance in the previous year.

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The study revealed that a decrease in electricity demand, coupled with favorable weather conditions, accounted for an 8% decline in fossil CO2 emissions.2

The reduction of harmful substances being released into the environment. Decreases in industries, caused by expensive gas prices resulting in increased efficiency for some companies and decreased production for others, accounted for 36% of the decrease. Transportation also contributed to the remaining 36%.

The data does not account for industries like farming, environmentally harmful chemical production like cement manufacturing, or additional pollutants like methane. Experts suggest that emissions as a whole are declining at an insufficient rate.

Levi stated that the 8% decrease in emissions is a cause for celebration. However, further actions need to be taken in order to decrease the EU’s dependence on fossil fuels and reduce reliance on countries like Russia. Ultimately, the goal is to leave a better world for future generations.

The European Union (EU) holds a significant portion of the responsibility for contributing to global warming and intensifying extreme weather events. In order to regulate rising temperatures, the EU has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by the end of the decade, and ultimately reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

The European Union’s climate experts advised that there needs to be a significant increase in the pace of emissions reductions in order for the bloc to reach its 2030 goal. The report from the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change states that the 27 member states must reduce emissions at a rate twice as fast as the average over the past 17 years.

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The group presented 13 suggestions, which involve promptly eliminating subsidies for fossil fuels, extending the European emissions pricing program to cover agriculture, and enacting the remaining legislation in the European green deal.

According to Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, the head of the advisory board, the European Union has made significant strides in enhancing its climate policy framework in recent times. However, achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 is a race against time and there is no room for complacency.

Sarah Brown, a member of the clean energy organization Ember, who was not part of the study, stated: “The significant decrease in emissions, especially from the power industry, demonstrates that the EU is progressing in its transition away from hazardous and costly fossil fuels. However, with the projected rise in electricity consumption from increased electrification in the future, it is crucial for renewable energy deployment and energy efficiency to keep up.”

Source: theguardian.com