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Trends raising concerns: greenhouse gas emissions in Lithuania are increasing

2017-03-24

Based on the most recent GHG inventory and projection data, increasingly larger GHG emissions are released into the atmosphere in Lithuania. This can be seen from the reports prepared by the Ministry of Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Forest Service, i.e. the National Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory Report which contains the 2015 data, and the Report on Policy and Measures and Projections of Greenhouse Gas Emission by 2035.

“The data of these reports raise great concerns and oblige to immediately take additional legal and economic means to mitigate climate change”, says Vitalijus Auglys, Director of the Pollution Prevention Department at the Ministry of Environment. Even applying the currently planned additional measures, Lithuania will be unable to reach the objective to reduce GHG emissions by 9 per cent, compared to the 2005 level, in the sectors not participating in the EU Emissions Trading System by 2030. According to Vitalijus Auglys, in order to identify the most effective measures based on the state-of-the-art technologies to be applied in particular economic sectors, particularly in transport and agriculture, it is necessary to ensure cooperation not only between the concerned ministries but also between research institutions and non-governmental organisations.

In 2015, the total GHG emissions released into the atmosphere in our country totalled 20 million tonnes, i. e. around 1 per cent more than in 2014. The energy sector accounted for the largest share, i. e. 55 per cent of total emissions. The largest source of pollutants in this sector was transport (46 %). Other key contributors included the agriculture (23 %), manufacturing (17 %) and waste sectors (5 %). GHG emissions increased in the agriculture, transport and manufacturing sectors and remained the same or decreased in the energy generation and fuel combustion companies and households as well as in the waste sector, from landfills and wastewater. Compared to 2014, the largest increases in GHG emissions were reported in the transport (over 5 %) and agriculture (3 %) sectors. In the latter sector, the pollution from arable land and synthetic fertilizer use grew steeply from 47 % in 2014 to 53 % in 2015.

The main greenhouse gas emitted in Lithuania, namely, carbon dioxide, accounted for 65 % of the total emissions in 2015. The amounts of other greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere were significantly lower: methane – 17 %, nitrogen suboxide – 16 %, and fluorinated gas – around 2 %. Based on the projections, carbon dioxide emissions will continue to grow in the transport sector, as this sector is rapidly developing and, besides, the vehicle fleet is getting outdated. In this sector, road transport emissions account for 90 %, of which 80 % come from motor vehicles.

The dynamics of greenhouse gas emissions in the agriculture sector depends on the areas of arable land, the quantity of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers used, and the number of cattle. Based on the projections, the distribution of pollution sources will not change in the agriculture sector until 2030. Soils will account for 56 % of total emissions due to nitrogen suboxide emissions and methane emissions from enteric fermentation in cattle will make up 36 %. In order to reduce these emissions, additional measures should be applied. Such measures include sustainable farming, crop rotation, rational and regulated use of synthetic fertilisers and replacement of synthetic fertilisers by organic fertilizers, expansion of perennial meadows in order to improve soil fertility, manure handling, review of subsidies and tax concessions, etc.

The detailed National Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory 2017 and Projections Reports are available on the website of the Ministry of Environment at http://www.am.lt/VI/index.php#a/12844.

Communication Division
24 March 2017


Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas