CO2 emissions in Spain drop by 2.2% in 2018

CO2 emissions in Spain

Spain recorded gross emissions of 332.8 million tons of CO2 equivalent in 2018, down by 2.2% from 2017.

This data was taken from last year’s Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GEI) linked to climate change. This preliminary report, sent to the European Commission on an annual basis in accordance with the Spain’s mandatory commitments, is published by the Ministry of Ecological Transition (MITECO).

According to this document, transport accounted for the majority of emissions last year. Land transportation by itself accounts for 25% of GHG emissions, a third of which are focused on urban centers.

Renewable power contribution

The decline in CO2 emissions seen in Spain throughout 2018 mainly stems from the sharp rise in hydraulic energy production. This sector grew by 84.9% from 2017 thanks to a wet year.

The 3.5% rise in wind power also contributed to this achievement.

Both sectors helped reduce emissions linked to power generation by 15.7%.

The growing use of renewable sources allowed lowering the use of other generation sources, as was the case of combined cycles (-18.9%), coal (-17.2%), and liquid fuels (-4.5%).

CO2 emissions in other Spanish sectors

In other sectors, emissions increased as compared with 2017. Thus, in a year in which the GDP climbed by 2.6%, transport-related emissions went up by 2.7%; meanwhile, fuel consumption rose by 1.9% in the residential, commercial, and institutional sector, and it also went up by 4.1% in agriculture, forestry, and fishing machinery.

For its part, emissions in the agriculture sector remained flat from 2017, given that the rise of emissions from the livestock sector (+1.4%) was compensated by the decline in emissions from cultivation (-2.5%).

Overall, sectors subject to the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), which accounted for 38.2% of the total, cut emissions by 6.6% in 2018.

On the other hand, emissions not subject to the ETS – the so-called diffuse sectors – increased by 0.6%. The diffuse sector includes the residential, commercial, institutional, transport, livestock, and agricultural sectors, as well as waste management, industries not subject to emissions trading, and fluorinated gases.

In Spain, the CO2 emissions level stands at 15.4 percentage points over 1990 levels. This year is taken as a reference to assess GHG mitigation measures. In fact, the draft National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030 (PNIEC) sent by the Spanish government to the European Commission in February, provides a number of measures aimed at reducing GHG emissions by 21 percentage points from 1990 levels by 2030.

Transport is leading CO2 production

With a strong performance in terms of emissions linked to power generation, transport becomes the sector that generated the highest amount of greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 (27%); followed by industry (19%), power generation (17%), agriculture (12%), fuel consumption in the Residential, Commercial, and Institutional sectors (9%), and waste (4%).

When it comes to polluting gases, CO2 accounts for 81% of total GHG emissions, followed by methane with 12%.

We must deduct the absorptions stemming from the Land Use, Land Use Changes, and Forestry sectors, estimated at 37.7 million tons of CO2 equivalent, from the recorded amount of 332.8 million tons of CO2 equivalent; which accounts for 11% of the gross emissions recorded in 2018.

Therefore, net emissions in 2018 would stand at 295.1 million tons of CO2.

For more information, check Energía16

See also: Spain to invest €47 billion to face climate change and undertaking the energy transition

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