Data - Climate change

Data: Further information

comprehensive set of climate change-related data can be found here in the Eurostat database. Most datasets in the database have a link to metadata information which you can consult to find more background information regarding a specific dataset, look for this icon Metadata icon attached to a data folder or an individual dataset.

Approaches for the collection of data on greenhouse gas emissions

Due to the importance of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission data for fighting climate change, you will find more information below to explain why there are several datasets that report different values.

There are two internationally established approaches to report greenhouse gas emissions:

  • National inventories for greenhouse gases and other pollutants; the official reporting framework for international policy commitments
  • Air emissions accounts; part of the system of environmental-economic accounting

The main differences between the two are:

National inventories for greenhouse gases and
other air pollutants (territory principle)
Air emissions accounts (residence principle)
Emissions are assigned to the country where the emission takes place. Emissions are assigned to the country where the company causing the emission is based ('resident').
Emissions are assigned to technical processes (e.g. combustion in power plants, solvent use). Emissions are classified by economic activity (using the NACE classification as used in the system of national accounts).
Emissions from international shipping and aviation are assigned to the countries where the associated fuel is purchased regardless of where the purchasing company is based.  Emissions from international shipping and aviation are assigned to the countries where the airline/shipping company is based, regardless of where the emission takes place.

Note: National and EU totals differ between the two approaches, as different boundaries apply. GHG inventories include international aviation and maritime transport (international bunker fuels) as memorandum items, which means that they are excluded from national totals reported. However, they are included in air emissions accounts totals. Therefore total emissions reported in GHG inventory databases can differ significantly from the total reported in air emissions accounts for countries with a large international aircraft and/or shipping fleet.

Air emission accounts include information that explain the difference between the national totals reported in air emissions accounts (residence principle) with the national totals reported in the GHG inventories (territory principle). Eurostat publishes these bridging items in a separate dataset (Air emission accounts totals bridging to emission inventory totals (env_ac_aibrid_r2)).

Detailed information on datasets on GHG emissions

Additional datasets on greenhouse gas emissions provide early estimates or complementary information. You can find more detailed information on these datasets below.

National GHG inventories

National GHG inventories are the reporting format used by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and EU's Directorate-General for Climate Action for monitoring purposes (also see 'Policy context').

GHG inventories are compiled based on the 2006 guidelines from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Information on the compilation process and reporting responsibilities can be found in the EU's national inventory report and in the statistical article 'Climate change – driving forces', under the heading 'Data sources'.

The UNFCCC publishes the national GHG inventories via their database and as the original reporting tables. For the EU, the national GHG inventories are also published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and are accessible through the EEA greenhouse gas data viewer. Eurostat republishes part of the EEA dataset in the dataset 'Greenhouse gas emissions by source sector (source: EEA) (env_air_gge)'.

Air emission accounts and demand-based accounts of air emissions

Eurostat also publishes air emissions accounts, which are in line with the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA). Accounts compiled within the framework of the SEEA bring together economic and environmental information in a common framework and are therefore suitable for integrated environmental-economic analysis and modelling.

For example, the air emissions accounts are used to produce demand-based accounts of air emissions, also known as footprints. More information on air emissions accounts, demand-based accounts and their compilation can be found on the dedicated website section, which includes links to the data, and the methodology page of the environment section. 

Early CO2 estimates from fossil fuel combustion

Energy statistics are used by Eurostat to produce an early estimate of the CO2 emissions of the previous year. These estimates are published as news release only and are not available in a dataset. More information can be found on the 'Methodology' page in the dedicated section on energy.

An overview of the complementary emission datasets produced by all EU organisations can be found in the EEA's briefing.