Iceland Tops EU & EFTA Carbon Emissions, Air Transport And Metal Production Most To Blame - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland Tops EU & EFTA Carbon Emissions, Air Transport And Metal Production Most To Blame

Published November 7, 2018

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Arpingstone/Wikimedia Commons

Iceland has the highest per capita carbon dioxide emissions from the economy of any country in the EU and EFTA, according to newly released data from Statistics Iceland. The majority of these emissions stem from air transport and metal production.

On the same scale, Iceland was previously ranked from third to fourth place from 2008 to 2014, but emissions increased from 2012 due to air and marine transport. In fact, per capita emissions of tonnes of carbon dioxide went from 13.3 in 2012 to 16.9 in 2016.

16.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide per capita is far above the EU average, which in 2016 was at 7.3. Few EU and EFTA countries managed to hit targets below that average, but Sweden did, at 5.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide per capita in 2016.

In terms of responsibility, households only accounted for 10% of Iceland’s carbon emissions. The largest single producers of carbon dioxide in Iceland were air transport (33%) and metal production (30%). The tourist boom is a likely explanation for the increased air transport emissions from 2012 onwards, while companies like United Silicon shed light on the high metal production emissions.

Iceland’s household carbon emissions were only slightly above the EU average of 1.69 tonnes. Iceland, at 1.73, is ranked 9th, but emissions in this sector have been increasing since 2014.


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