Infographic reveals Europe’s biggest greenhouse gas polluters

18 Oct 2019

Image: © Viktor Gmyria/

The world has a greenhouse gas problem, but European nations are now under intense scrutiny and pressure to drastically cut emissions.

By 2050, the EU has set a target of being carbon neutral across all member states, but with potentially just a little more than a decade left to prevent a total climate disaster, there is still a lot of work to do.

Certainly, one of the biggest issues is that a significant proportion of harmful emissions are produced by a number of ‘megacompanies’. A recent report published in The Guardian has shown that just 20 fossil fuel companies are responsible for more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the modern era.

This would seem to be confirmed by data provided by the EU, which showed that in 2017, the energy sector accounted for 80.7pc of all greenhouse gas emissions. This was followed by agriculture (8.72pc), industry (7.82pc) and waste management (2.75pc).

In total, the EU emitted 4.3m kilotonnes of CO2 equivalent in the same year, with an infographic released by the European Environment Agency (EEA) showing which nations are the biggest offenders. Germany takes the lead, followed by the UK and France.

Infographic showing greenhouse emissions in EU member states.

Image: EEA

Efforts to change the status quo are continuing both on raising awareness through iconic figures such as Greta Thunberg, but also from the scientists devising strategies that could reduce emissions by half by 2030. According to the Exponential Roadmap report, efforts should include having 90pc of vehicles on the market being electric by the end of the next decade.

A total of 36 developments are needed to achieve such a drastic decarbonisation, it said, which would also include major changes to food production, city design and international travel.

Commenting on the Exponential Roadmap report, Johan Rockström, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said: “While the scale of transformation is unprecedented, the speed is not.

“This is now a race against time, but businesses and even entire industries have made many significant transitions in less than 10 years.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic