The UK recorded the largest decrease of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the EU in 2015, according to figures released by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
This was despite a colder than usual winter, and primarily due to a strong reduction in coal use and an increase in renewables and nuclear for electricity generation.
In contrast, the EU as a whole saw its total GHG emissions rise for the first time since 2010, increasing by 0.5%, with Spain, Italy and the Netherlands the poorest performers.
"The increase in emissions was triggered by the higher heat demand by households and services due to slightly colder winter conditions in Europe, as well as by higher road transport demand," The EEA said in an analysis report.
"This modest increase in emissions came along with an increase in GDP of 2.2 %, the largest increase since the economic crisis started in the second half of 2008."
A breakdown of how greenhouse gas emissions changed in each member state in 2015 is shown below (Mt CO2 equivalent):
The EEA said the main reason for the increases in Spain and the Netherlands was a substantial rise in coal use for electricity generation, while an increase in gas consumption in the residential sector saw emissions rise in Italy.
Total energy consumption and energy-related emissions increased, due to a rise in the use of natural gas and oil, however, a further increase in the use of renewables mitigated these emissions.
In addition, GHG emissions have decreased by 23.7% since 1990, if those from international aviation are excluded, while carbon intensity of the EU energy system declined due to higher shares of renewables and gas.
"In spite of good progress in reducing GHG emissions intensity and decarbonising the EU economy, fossil fuels still represent the largest source of energy and emissions in the EU," The EEA report says.
"There cannot be a complete decoupling of emissions from economic growth in a fossil fuel economy since energy demand, by and large driven by fossil fuels, remains connected to economic growth.
"This also means the higher the contribution from renewable energy sources the easier it will be to break the link between economic growth, energy demand and GHG emissions."
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