A third of the European Union’s carbon footprint is increased by its imports

A new INSEE report points out that Europeans emit 1.5 times more greenhouse gases per capita than the world average.

A significant part of the greenhouse gases emitted for the consumption of Europeans are emitted on other continents. According to the latest INSEE study on the subject, one third of the European Union’s carbon footprint is due to its imports.

The objective of the carbon footprint is to measure the quantity of greenhouse gases emitted to meet the consumption of inhabitants by adding, by country, the emissions linked to domestic production, the direct emissions of households but also those linked to imports. . A calculation that makes it possible not to focus solely on production on national territory.

11 tonnes per European per year

In 2018, this European carbon footprint reached 4095 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, which is equivalent to 11 tonnes per European, compared to 21 in the United States and 8 tonnes in China. This is more than one and a half times the world average. However, “in relation to their GDP, their European GHG emissions are lower than the world average“, nuances the Insee. The economic weight of the European Union on the world stage, in purchasing power parity, is around 16%, while its carbon footprint represents 10.5% of global emissions.

France is characterized, it, by an energy mix, and, by extension, a production as a whole less carbon-intensive than its partners, in particular Germany “, specifies the INSEE. However, despite this peculiarity, to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050 with a reduction of its greenhouse gases by 55% in 2030, a reduction in its emissions of 5.5% will be necessary each year from 2031 to 2050. “The step is high“, warns the report, specifying that the rate of decline was 1.7% between 2005 and 2021.

In general, INSEE recalls that at the global level, greenhouse gas emissions increased by half (+49%) between 2000 and 2018. But this increase is unevenly distributed since they decreased by 6% on European territory while they have tripled in China. This wide gap can be explained in particular by the fact that warmer countries are more oriented towards a service economy, emitting less greenhouse gases.


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