Energy-related CO2 emissions in the European Union contracted by 10% in 2020, as a result of COVID-19 containment measures that had a significant impact on transport and industrial activities. CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion decreased in all countries, with the largest contractions in Greece (-19%), Estonia, Luxembourg (-18% each), Spain (-16%) and Denmark (-15%). They fell by around 9% in Germany (25% of EU's total energy-related CO2 emissions), and by around 11% in Italy (12% of total emissions) and France (11% of total emissions). Emissions cuts were limited in Malta (-1%), Hungary (-1.7%), Ireland and Lithuania (both -2.6%).
According to preliminary data from the Ministry of the Ecological Transition, the share of renewables in France’s final energy consumption reached 19.1% in 2020, including 24.8% for electricity, 23.3% for heating and 9.2% for transports. The growth of renewable energies in France has been important since 2005, especially with the development of biofuels, solid biomass, heat pumps, wind and solar power. The country, which aimed to achieve a target of a 23% share of renewables in final consumption by 2020, including 27% for electricity, 33% for heating and cooling and 10% for transports, has missed its targets.
Switzerland’s electricity consumption declined by 2.6% in 2020 to 55.7 TWh, according to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy. This decline was due to the COVID-19 related lockdowns (-4.3% in electricity consumption in the first quarter and -7.8% in the second quarter of 2020), and to economic trends (2.9% drop in the GDP), weather conditions (the number of heating degree days fell by 4.4% compared to 2019) and energy efficiency improvements to a lesser extent.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from operators covered by the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) fell by 13.3% in 2020, due to an 11.2% decrease in emissions from stationary installations (power plants and manufacturing plants) to 1.331 MtCO2eq and a 64.1% decrease in emissions from aviation, a sector which was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, to 24.5 MtCO2eq.
The power sector posted a 14.9% decrease, as a result of reduced electricity consumption due to the pandemic and continued decarbonisation trends, including both the switch from coal to gas-fired power generation, and the replacement of fossil fuels by renewables. In addition, emissions from industry decreased by an average of 7%, with reductions observed in most sectors, including iron and steel (-11.7%), cement (-5.1%), chemicals (-4%) and refineries (-8.1%).