By Annette Chrysostomou
Cyprus has seen a 47.7 per cent rise in greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2012, according to the European statistical service, second only to Malta which recorded a 56.9 per cent increase.
The main reason for this, according to former environment commissioner and lecturer at the Cyprus University of Technology Charalambos Theopemptou, was development.
“It is due to a huge increase in development in general in Cyprus,” he told the Cyprus Mail.
As examples he used the rise in electricity consumption – mainly fuelled by oil — cooling and heating, the number of cars, new buildings, and street lighting.
The ‘Cyprus national greenhouse gases inventory report 1990 to 2010’, which was submitted to the European Commission by the ministry of agriculture, gives additional information on these developments.
The report said that “greenhouse gas emissions from energy in 2010 accounted for 69 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions and increased by 78 per cent compared with 1990s levels.”
A 64 per cent rise in carbon dioxide emissions was mainly attributed to the rise in electricity production as well as energy consumption in the residential and transport sectors.
The report goes on to say that the number of registered vehicles in the country increased by 143 per cent between 1990 and 2010.
Apart from the energy sector which mostly relies on fossil fuel combustion for meeting the bulk of energy requirements in Cyprus, waste production also contributed in the rise of greenhouse gases.
Emissions from the waste Sector contributed 17.1 per cent of the total, up by 111 per cent since 1990.
“Even though recycling has increased considerably during recent years, there is a large increase in greenhouse gases emissions, caused by the increasing waste production trend,” the report said.
The average Cypriot currently produces 663 kg of municipal waste per year, whereas the EU average is 450 kg per person.
Households contribute to the rise in emissions in other ways. According the islands statistical service, by 2009 some 98.4 per cent of households used heating equipment in the cold months and the number of households using air conditioning was also high with 80.8 per cent.
Of those, more than 70 per cent are reported to have been installed in the past decade.