LONDON (Reuters): Greenhouse gas emissions from European Union countries jumped 18% last spring, according to data from the bloc’s statistics office, as all economic sectors released more harmful gases into the atmosphere as they recovered from pandemic shutdowns.
Eurostat said emissions totalled 867 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents from April to June, up sharply from the same period last year when lockdowns across the region brought emissions to their lowest levels ever recorded.
However, it added that levels remained below any pre-pandemic quarter and continued a long-term trend of steady reduction.
The manufacturing and construction sector – responsible for more than a third of emissions, the largest share – saw levels jump 22% from 2020, while the electricity supply sector rose 17% and agriculture remained steady.
Households contributed almost a fifth of emissions, largely due to their transport-linked carbon footprint, which rose 25% from last year, and heating, up 42%.
But even as Europe’s businesses recover, some countries are mulling fresh lockdowns after Austria shut all non-essential shops, bars and cafes to curb a new wave of infections sweeping the continent.
Eurostat’s report represents its first estimates of quarterly EU greenhouse gas emissions, as the bloc edges towards its 2050 net-zero target.