Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Agriculture in Europe

October 24, 2023 | European Environmental Agency  | 


The European Climate Law outlines the EU's ambitious target to transition to a climate-neutral economy by 2050, with an interim goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55% by 2030. Agricultural emissions fall under the EU Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR), which sets annual targets for member states until 2030. Methane (CH4) emissions from enteric fermentation and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from soils constitute a significant portion, comprising 48% and 31% of total agricultural GHG emissions, respectively.

From 2005 to 2021, the EU witnessed a marginal 3% decrease in agricultural GHG emissions, with a further estimated 2% reduction in 2022. Projections suggest emissions will plateau until 2030, with a potential 8% decline if additional planned measures are implemented. This places the onus on member states to achieve more substantial reductions in non-agricultural sectors to meet national targets. While some countries, like Croatia and Greece, have successfully reduced emissions, others, including Bulgaria and Hungary, experienced increases.

Member states' projections indicate that without additional measures, trends will likely persist, but some anticipate a reversal. Notably, Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Spain, and Sweden plan additional measures, projecting a 10% or more reduction in agricultural emissions by 2030. Conversely, twelve member states have not reported such measures, potentially challenging overall EU emission reduction goals.


Fig. | Agricultural emissions and projected emissions by EU Member State