Regional GHG emissions, 2008


Observations for policy

The reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is repeatedly claimed to be a ‘win-win’ option which contributes to both climate change mitigation and wider economic development objectives, including business opportunities and higher efficiency results.

Metropolitan regions in Europe need special attention from policy interventions aimed are reducing GHG emissions. In addition, regional strategies to mitigate climate change seem to be highly recommendable. This brings direct implications for the territorial development, especially in terms of urban sprawl as compared to urban compact models. With regard to this, scholars suggest that the reduction of GHG emissions should be accompanied by better frameworks and resources to create healthier urban environments.

Policy context

GHG emissions play an important role in the context of climate change. Consequently, the Europe 2020 strategy stresses the need for sustainable growth. This implies, among others, high levels of employment and productivity while reducing GHG emissions.

Sustainable growth includes the promotion of low-carbon, resource-efficient and competitive economy. In this context, the reduction of CO2 emissions by 20 per cent as compared to the 1990 levels is on the headline targets of the Europe 2020 strategy.

Map interpretation

The map shows that metropolitan areas in Europe are the main responsible for GHG emissions. Consequently, these areas play a crucial role for achieving the sustainable growth and GHG emissions goals set in the Europe 2020 strategy.

Rural and less densely populated areas tend to have lower levels of GHG emissions. However, in some rural areas in Turkey, for instance, levels of GHG emissions are similar to those observed in urban areas. The urban-rural difference is largely explained by the fact that one of the variables used in the model is population. Besides, literature suggests that livestock has a crucial impact on GHG emissions. This variable has not been considered for the model but if it would have been admitted the contribution of some rural areas would have been very significant to justify the increase of GHG emissions.

Concepts and methods

This indicator shows that GHG emissions expressed in CO2 equivalents. It is assumed that regional GHG emissions follow the regional distribution of final energy consumption which is further exemplified using population and GVA data at regional level.

One of the most important caveats concerns the cross-border effects related to GHG emissions in the transport sector. The indicator however does not consider border effects deriving from price differences, but also both public and private transport in transit. This means that datasets only indicate where consumers buy their fuel without acknowledging where this fuel is emitted.