Stockholm - Emissions of greenhouse gases in European Union member states dropped slightly in 2016, but the bloc needs to increase efforts to meet commitments under the Paris agreement, the bloc's environmental agency said on Tuesday.
The European Environment Agency (EAA) said preliminary estimates showed a 0.7-per-cent decrease in emissions blamed for climate change compared to 2015.
The drop was attributed to an increase in the share of renewable energy and a switch from coal to gas used to generate power.
The bloc has already achieved its 2020 target
Sectors that bucked the trend in 2016 were transport and heating where emissions increased almost 1 per cent due to colder weather and higher transport demand, the agency said.
The bloc has already achieved its 2020 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent. Between 1990 and 2016 the decrease was 23 per cent, the Copenhagen-based agency said.
"This evolution illustrates the positive effects of innovation and investments in the low carbon economy of the future," Hans Bruyninckx, EEA executive director, said in a statement.
Creating a low-carbon economy
He cautioned that the bloc needed to step up "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."
Although greenhouse gas emissions were estimated to fall also after 2020, the EEA said planned reductions were projected to be under the targeted 40-per-cent reduction set for 2030.