Cyprus had the second highest increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of all EU member states in 2016, while in 11 of the countries the emissions decreased during the year.
According to Eurostat estimates published on Thursday, CO2 emissions rose in 2016 in a majority of EU Member States, with the highest increase being recorded in Finland (+8.5 per cent), followed by Cyprus (+7 per cent) and Slovenia (+5.8 per cent). The biggest decrease was registered in Malta, minus 18.2 per cent, followed by Bulgaria (-7 per cent) and Portugal (-5.7 per cent).
Eurostat reported that on average, last year CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion decreased by 0.4 per cent in the EU compared with the previous year.
CO2 emissions are said to be a major contributor to global warming and account for around 80 per cent of all EU greenhouse gas emissions. They are influenced by factors such as climate conditions, economic growth, size of the population, transport and industrial activities. Various EU energy efficiency initiatives aim to reduce emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.
imports and exports of energy products have an impact on CO2 emissions in the country where fossil fuels are burned. If coal or gas is imported this leads to an increase in emissions, while if electricity is imported, it has no direct effect on emissions in the importing country, as these would be reported in the exporting country where it is produced.
This is relevant for Cyprus. A Eurostat report published earlier this year said that Cyprus has the highest dependency, and the biggest share of reliance on fossil fuels for energy within the EU.
The island also saw the biggest increase in energy demand among the EU 28, growing 41 per cent since 1990 from 1.6 Mtoe (million tonnes of oil equivalent) to 2.3 Mtoe in 2015.