After a summer of disastrous climate events, politicians worldwide are still prevaricating when it comes to implementing the CO2 cuts laid out by the Paris summit.

‘The purpose of the Glasgow Agreement is to reclaim the initiative from governments and international institutions by creating an alternative tool for action (inventory and climate agenda) and a space for strategy and coordination for the climate justice movement.’

Extinction Rebellion Luxembourg have tried to set up the CO2 inventory for Luxembourg, based on information found online and in the public domain. The aim is to be very concrete about which our biggest emission causing industries are and what Luxembourg needs to do to fulfil the Paris agreement.

The measurements are all in CO2eq, i.e.all greenhouse gas emissions are converted into C02 based on their global-warming potential. Numbers tend to vary slightly on different sites, thus our numbers are approximations. In 2019 (the latest numbers), Luxembourg emitted 10,43 million tonnes CO2eq. To fulfil the Paris Agreement and limit global heating to 1,5 degrees Celsius, we have to cut this number by 2/3 to reach our allocated 3,38 million tonnes. The Glasgow Agreement encourages participants to identify the most polluting sectors and put pressure on its companies and the government.

In Luxembourg, over half of the CO2 emitted comes from transport (56,49%) and the government is not doing enough to curb this number. Quoting from a recent (June 2021) EU Briefing about the progress (or lack thereof) EU members are making:

Average emissions from new passenger cars have remained above the EU level, and in recent years the difference has grown. Luxembourg managed to come below the EU-wide target of 130g CO2/km in 2014, but rose above it again from 2018. Luxembourg therefore remains a considerable distance from the new EU-wide target of 95g CO2/km as of 2021.’

It is also interesting to note that CO2 emissions from international flights are not yet included in national numbers, but are added to so called ‘bunkers’ – this means that none of the commercial flights from and to Findel our included in our total so far.

Building (11,18%) and industry (9,54%) are the next biggest categories. The industrial sector has emitted 1,50 million tonnes, overshooting its allocated 1,16 million tonnes. Climalux, Arcelor Mittal and Guardian Luxguard emit the most CO2. Considerably more efforts also need to be made in the agriculture sector (6,83%).

According to EU sources, the Luxembourg government wants to focus on reducing nitrogen fertilisers and methane emissions and ‘organic cultivation should reach 20 % in 2025 and 100 % in 2050’. However, in a recent interview in (19.03.2021) Luxembourg’s Minister of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development, Romain Schneider, admitted that the share of organic agricultural land has only increased by 7.02% between 2019 and 2020, and currently represents a mere 5.18%.

Finally, Luxembourg is the EU Member State with the highest per capita emissions level (20.6 tonnes CO2e), but has the lowest level of environmental taxes (4,4%) compared with its European counterparts.

Yes, we are not as bad as China, but it’s about time we got our own house in order.

Sources :
1. Glasgow Agreement
2. The target for 2030
3. CO2 emissions from Luxembourg companies
4. Information on emissions by sector
5. The 2021 EU Briefing on progress made by member countries

Photo by NOAA on Unsplash