In all likelihood, readers will not hear much about Eurostat’s estimates of CO2 emissions in EU countries in 2022. The news is doomed to quiet because it often undermines a one-way approach to environmental issues and in line with the ideological ecological vision prevailing in Europe.
In fact, Eurostat depicted a drop in CO2 emissions for energy use in the EU of 2.8% compared to 2021, a drop similar to what happened in Italy. Emissions from fossil fuels (oil, petroleum products, natural gas, natural gas, coal and peat) for energy use in EU countries amounted to nearly 2.4 Gt last year with a 13% decrease in gas consumption.
The decline in energy use emissions covered seventeen EU countries with the most pronounced decreases in the Netherlands (-12.8%), Luxembourg (-12%), Belgium (-9.7%) and Hungary (-8.6%). To date, Germany alone accounts for a quarter of the EU’s total CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, followed by Italy and Poland (both 12.4%) and France (10.7%). The French data makes us think because the Paris economy is much larger than the Polish economy, but the heavy use of nuclear energy causes fewer emissions. Eurostat’s estimates attest to a better picture for Europe than that presented by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its report “CO2 Emissions 2022” which shows a 2.5% decrease in emissions. However, in the face of positive data from the old continent, global emissions grew by 0.9% last year, reaching a record high of over 36.8 billion tons. This means that, in the face of the virtuous behavior of European countries, there are countries that increase (very little) their emissions. If in the United States the increase is 0.8%, then China takes the lion’s share, which increased emissions by 4.2%. A trend was also confirmed in the first three months of 2023 as Chinese emissions grew by 4% compared to the same period in the previous year, recording unprecedented levels of greenhouse gases.
These figures, due to the growth in demand for fossil fuels, are indeed large, but breaking down the energy sources used, the picture that emerges is staggering: oil consumption rose by 5.5%, coal consumption by 3.6% and gas by 1.4%. . The most impressive data concerns coal, which is one of the most polluting energy sources; Beijing has granted permits for 106 gigawatts of capacity at 82 sites in 2022, four times the capacity approved in 2021 and the equivalent of opening two coal-fired plants each week. While Europe is committed to decommissioning its coal-fired plants, Beijing is increasing its production with some hypocrisy as China’s coal-produced power is used by industries to make the components needed for renewable energy exported to the West. Instead of continuing the process of blaming Europe alone with masochistic choices in the social and economic spheres in the name of the environment, a more pragmatic and less ideological approach will be needed. If the environmental rebels don’t like it, they can always block the streets in Beijing but we can’t guarantee the outcome of the protest.
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