Energy Efficiency

, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 1087–1113 | Cite as

Which factors drive CO2 emissions in EU-15? Decomposition and innovative accounting

  • Victor Moutinho
  • Mara MadalenoEmail author
  • Pedro Miguel Silva
Original Article


This study breaks down carbon emissions into six effects within the 15 European Union countries group (EU-15) and analyses their evolution in four distinct periods: 1995–2000 (before European directive 2001/77/EC), 2001–2004 (after European directive 2001/77/EC and before Kyoto), 2005–2007 (after Kyoto implementation), and 2008–2010 (after Kyoto first stage), to determine which of them had more impact in the intensity of emissions. The complete decomposition technique was used to examine the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and its components: carbon intensity (CI effect); changes in fossil fuels consumption towards total energy consumption (EM effect); changes in energy intensity effect (EG effect); the average renewable capacity productivity (GC effect); the change in capacity of renewable energy per capita (CP effect); and the change in population (P effect). It is shown that in the post Kyoto period there is an even greater differential in the negative changes in CO2 emissions, which were caused by the negative contribution of the intensity variations of the effects EM, GC, CP and P that exceeded the positive changes occurred in CI and EG effects. It is also important to stress the fluctuations in CO2 variations before and after Kyoto, turning positive changes to negative changes, especially in France, Italy and Spain, revealing the presence of heterogeneity. Moreover, the positive effect of renewable capacity per capita and the negative effect of renewable capacity productivity are the main factors influencing the reduction in CO2 emissions during the Kyoto first stage. It is possible to infer from the results that one of the ways to reduce emissions intensity will be by increasing the renewable capacity and the productivity in energy generation and consequently through the reduction of the share of the consumption of fossil fuels.


Decomposition analysis Emissions intensity European countries Renewable capacity 


C29 Q47 Q52 Q57 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victor Moutinho
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mara Madaleno
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Pedro Miguel Silva
    • 2
  1. 1.CEFAGE—Centre of Advanced Studies in Management and EconomicsUniversity of ÉvoraÉvoraPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Economics, Management and Industrial EngineeringUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  3. 3.GOVCOPP—Research Unit in Governance, Competitiveness and Public PolicyAveiroPortugal

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