The European Union slashed greenhouse gas emissions 34% below 1990 levels by 2020, overshooting the bloc’s target of 20%, according to official data submitted to the UNFCCC.
The European Environment Agency (EEA) submitted official EU data to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The 961-page inventory report confirmed preliminary data suggesting the European Union was on track to smash its 2020 climate goal, according to Euractiv.
The EU had already reduced its emissions by 26% in 2019 and had achieved its 20% target before the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns started to impact emission levels, the EEA said.
Emissions dropped by 11% in 2020 alone as EU countries shut down their economies to contain the coronavirus outbreak, the EEA indicated, admitting that the COVID-19 lockdowns “had a substantial impact on reducing emissions in 2020.”
Still, “the data confirms a 30-year downward trend which led to the EU achieving its 2020 target to reduce emissions by 20% compared to 1990 levels,” it said in a statement.
Over the past thirty years, EU emission cuts were driven mainly by the growing use of renewables and replacing coal with gas in electricity generation.
The report showed that coal use saw an unprecedented decline and was three times lower in 2020 than in 1990.