Statistics Explained

Quarterly greenhouse gas emissions in the EU

3rd quarter 2022

Data extracted in February 2023

Planned article update: 15 May 2023


In the third quarter of 2022, EU economy greenhouse gas emissions totalled 854 million tonnes of CO2-equivalents, a 2 % increase compared with the same quarter of 2021.

[[File:Quarterly greenhouse gas emissions in the EU 13-02-2022.xlsx]]

Greenhouse gas emissions - all activities and households, EU, 2010-Q1 to 2022-Q3

This article is about quarterly emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG emissions) in the European Union (EU) classified by emitting economic activities (industries and households). The GHGs comprise carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4) and fluorinated gases (hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and natrium trifluoride (NF3)). Eurostat records and publishes these in air emissions accounts (AEA), one of the modules in the European environmental economic accounts (for which the legal basis is Regulation (EU) No 691/2011). AEA are suited for integrated environmental-economic analyses such as calculating emission intensities or 'footprints'.

Full article

Greenhouse gas emissions

In the third quarter of 2022, EU economy greenhouse gas emissions totalled 854 million tonnes of CO2-equivalents (CO2-eq), a 2 % increase compared with the same quarter of 2021.

Emissions by economic activity

Greenhouse gas emissions in the third quarter of 2022 increased by 2 % compared with the same quarter in the previous year. This increase is largely related to the effect of the economic rebound, which can be drawn from the gross domestic product (GDP) development, after the sharp decrease in activity due to the COVID-19 crisis. In fact, compared with the pre-pandemic third quarter of 2019, EU economy greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 4 % (from 889 to 854 million tonnes of CO2-eq).

Figure 1: Greenhouse gas emissions by the economy and GDP, EU, Q3 2019 - Q3 2022
(million tonnes of CO2 equivalents, chain linked volumes (2015) million euro)
Source: Eurostat (env_ac_aigg_q), (namq_10_gdp)

In the third quarter of 2022, the economic sectors responsible for most greenhouse gas emissions were manufacturing (23 %), electricity, gas supply (21 %), households and agriculture (both 14 %), followed by transportation and storage (13 %) (see Figure 1).

Figure 2: Growth rates of greenhouse gas emissions by the economy, EU, Q3 2022
(% change compared with the same quarter of the previous year)
Source: Eurostat (env_ac_aigg_q)

Greenhouse gas emissions increased in the majority of sectors compared with the same period of 2021. The highest increases were recorded in transportation and storage (+9 %), electricity, gas supply (+5 %) and services (except transport and storage) (+4 %). Decreases were recorded in agriculture and manufacturing (both -1 %) and water supply (-0.3 %) (see Figure 2).

Greenhouse gas emissions across EU Member States

In the third quarter of 2022 most EU Member States saw a growth in both GDP and emissions compared with the same quarter of the previous year. Some countries managed to decrease emissions while GDP grew.

Figure 3: Growth rates of greenhouse gas emissions by the economy and GDP, Q3 2022 (% change compared with the same quarter of the previous year)
Source: Eurostat (env_ac_aigg_q), (namq_10_gdp)

Emissions in the third quarter of 2022 increased in 16 of the 27 EU Member States when compared with the same quarter of 2021, indicating a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the EU countries with increased emissions in the same comparison period were Ireland (+17 %), Estonia and Malta (both +8 %). On the other hand, the largest decreases in emissions were recorded in Lithuania (-6 %), Slovakia and the Netherlands (both -5 %) (see Figure 3)

Source data for tables and graphs

Data sources

Quarterly data are estimated by Eurostat applying the methods described in the methodological note on Eurostat's Estimates of Quarterly Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accounts. The quarterly estimates are based on sub-annual activity data and annual air emissions accounts (AEA).

In AEA, the emissions data are organised by economic activity, using the NACE classification. This arrangement makes it possible to have an integrated environmental-economic analysis to supplement national accounts. The scope encompasses production by all businesses resident in the country, including those operating ships, aircraft and other transportation equipment in other countries.

Air emissions accounts also include households as consumers. Their emissions are accounted for whenever household consumption is directly responsible for environmental pressures. For example, emissions from a privately owned car are accounted under households, whereas cars owned by transport businesses (such as taxis) are accounted under transportation and storage.

The following groupings of economic activities are used in this article:

  • agriculture, forestry and fishing — NACE Rev. 2 Section A;
  • mining and quarrying — NACE Rev. 2 Section B;
  • manufacturing — NACE Rev. 2 Section C;
  • electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply — NACE Rev. 2 Section D;
  • water supply, sewerage, waste management — NACE Rev. 2 Section E;
  • construction - NACE Rev. 2 Section F;
  • transportation and storage — NACE Rev. 2 Section H;
  • services (except transportation and storage) — NACE Rev. 2 Sections G to U minus H;
  • households — households as consumers.

In addition, Eurostat disseminates greenhouse gas emissions classified by technical processes. These are recorded in GHG emission inventories, including data for international climate policies. Furthermore, Eurostat estimates and disseminates 'footprints' which are greenhouse gas emissions classified by final products that are demanded by households or government, or that are invested in or exported.

Each greenhouse gas has a different capacity to cause global warming, depending on its radiative properties, molecular weight and the length of time it remains in the atmosphere. The global warming potential (GWP) of each gas is defined in relation to a given weight of carbon dioxide for a set time period (for the purpose of the Kyoto Protocol a period of 100 years). GWPs are used to convert emissions of greenhouse gases to a relative measure (known as carbon dioxide equivalents: CO2-equivalents). The weighting factors currently used are the following: carbon dioxide = 1, methane = 25, nitrous oxide = 298 and sulphur hexafluoride = 22 800; hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons comprise a large number of different gases that have different GWPs.


The data obtained from air emissions accounts may subsequently feed into political decision-making, underpinning policies that target both continued economic growth and sustainable development, including the European Commission's latest initiative, the European Green Deal. Improving the timeliness of disseminating greenhouse gas emissions is one objective of the 'action plan for the Green Deal'. Air emissions accounts measure the interplay between the economy and the environment with respect to air emissions, in order to assess whether current production and consumption activities are on a sustainable path of development. Measuring sustainable development is a complex undertaking as it has to incorporate economic, social and environmental indicators.

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