The EU is on track to meet its emissions reduction target set for 2020.
However, more work is needed to meet longer term goals, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Its latest analysis suggests greenhouse gas emissions across the EU “decreased modestly” last year by 0.7% from 2015.
The slight drop corresponds to a 23% fall in emissions between 1990 and 2016, with the fall last year mainly due to a rising share of renewable energy and switch from coal to gas in the EU’s fuel mix for power generation.
That’s despite an increase in energy use and growth in emissions in the residential and transport sectors.
In the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), which covers large industrial facilities and intra-EU flights, emissions declined by 2.6% between 2015 and 2016 – mostly driven by emission cuts in large power plants.
However, updated projections also show current efforts need to be stepped up to achieve more ambitious longer term goals.
The pace of emission reductions beyond 2020 is expected to slow down under current policies, falling short of the 40% reduction target for 2030.
Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director said: “The EU is firmly on track to meet its 2020 emissions targets. This evolution illustrates the positive effects of innovation and investments in the low carbon economy of the future.
“However, it is clear we all need to considerably intensity our efforts if we are to meet our Paris agreement commitments and the more ambitious longer term goals for 2030 and 2050 in creating a low carbon economy.”