Decline in CO2 intensity in the EU in 2019.
In 2019, the CO2 intensity fell by 2.9%, i.e. nearly twice its 2000-2018 average (-1.5%/year), thanks to steady improvements in energy intensity (around 1.5-2%/year) and in the “carbon factor” (CO2 emissions of energy consumption), especially for power generation (lower coal consumption). The CO2 intensity posted significant decreases in OECD countries (-5.5% in the EU and South Korea, -4.6% in the USA, -4.1% in Japan), well above their historical trends. In the EU, the CO2 intensity particularly decreased in large countries such as Poland (-10%), Germany (-7%) and Spain (-8%) due to decreasing CO2 emissions and slower economic growth.
The CO2 intensity also improved in Asia (-3.4%), especially in China (-3.1%, even if it remains 52% above the global average) and India (-5.1%, due to a strong economic growth coupled with declining emissions). In other large economies, the improvement was much slower (-0.6% in Australia, where CO2 emissions slightly increased, -1% in Mexico). Conversely, the CO2 intensity continued to increase in Russia, South Africa and Iran, following the rising trend in their emissions.
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%).
According to preliminary data from the Ministry of the Ecological Transition, France’s primary energy consumption decreased by 9.9% in 2020 to 2,571 TWh. Final energy consumption declined by 7.9% to 1,637 TWh in 2020, including 147 TWh for non-energy uses (final consumption for energy use at constant climate declined by 5.6% in 2020). The lockdown measures and travel restrictions had a significant impact on energy consumption in the transport and industrial sectors: energy consumption fell by nearly 16% in transport and by 6.5% in industry. The energy consumption of residential and tertiary building adjusted for climate variations increased slightly (+1.5% with climate corrections).
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions fell by 1.7% in 2019 to 5,769 MtCO2eq (including LULUCF), i.e. 13% below their 2005 level. The decrease in total energy consumption in 2019 (compared to 2018) and to a continued shift from coal to gas and renewables in the power sector reduced emissions from fossil fuel combustion.