The European Union’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 5% last year, official data published this past week showed, continuing a trend of declining emissions in Europe.


Europe is the world’s fastest-warming continent, where climate change is already worsening droughts, wildfires and fatal heatwaves.

Having set legally-binding targets to reduce its contribution to global warming, the 27-country EU is now grappling with how to meet them – and who will pay.

The EU has committed to cut net greenhouse gas emissions 55% by 2030, from 1990 levels.


EU countries churned out 3.4 billion tons of all greenhouse gas emissions last year, 5.1% less than in 2022, Reuters analysis of Eurostat data show.

For comparison, the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels increased to around 37 billion tons in 2023.


Progress on curbing emissions varies by sector – Power generation emissions are falling fastest, and the sector is on track to meet EU climate goals.

EU emissions from power, gas, steam generation and air conditioning plunged by around 18% in 2023, compared with 2022, thanks to a shift to more renewable energy. Overall electricity demand also fell due to lower industrial output and mild weather.

Other sectors are lagging. Emissions from transport, construction and mining barely budged last year, while emissions from farming increased slightly.


The next European Commission and EU governments face tough decisions on how to bring other sectors in line with climate goals.

While industry, power plants and transport already face tough EU climate regulations, some policymakers have called for green policies to be eased. Brussels weakened green rules for agriculture following protests by farmers. “Agriculture is the odd one out,” said Linda Kalcher, Executive Director at think-tank Strategic Perspectives, citing a current lack of EU climate policies targeting farming.