Climate-Conscious Countries

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    Which European countries are doing the most to limit the effects of climate change?

    Climate-Conscious Countries

    Whether you use energy to supply electricity for business or wash your clothes at home, many day-to-day activities have the potential to pollute our environment. While it is no secret that the effects of climate change are taking their toll globally, recent statistics have shown that Europe is the fastest-warming continent in the world.

    Bearing this in mind, it is more important than ever that we look after our planet and adopt more sustainable behaviors, but which countries are leading the way in this regard? We can reveal the most climate-conscious countries in Europe by looking at various factors, including CO2 emissions and electric vehicle acquisition.

    Sweden takes the title of Europe’s most climate-conscious country, with an overall score of 7.93 /10

    We normalised data for a range of climate-related factors to find out which European countries are doing the most to limit the effects of climate change. Here’s what we found.

    Europe’s most climate-conscious country

    1. Sweden – Climate-Conscious Score of 7.93 /10

    Sweden scores an impressive 7.93 /10 and takes the top spot on our list. Some factors contributing to this country’s high climate-conscious score include a 66% share of renewable energy consumption and a low number of CO2 emissions per capita, equating to 3.69t CO2/cap/yr.

    2. Switzerland – Climate-Conscious Score of 7.29 /10

    Switzerland appears next on our list of Europe’s most climate-conscious countries. Of the factors contributing to Switzerland’s overall score of 7.29 /10, this country is in the 0.651 percentile when it comes to progress in reaching global sustainability goals, which is the highest global green economy index score in our top three.

    3. Denmark – Climate-Conscious Score of 7.11 /10

    Denmark completes our top three with an overall score of 7.11 /10. As the second Scandinavian country to feature in our top three, this region of Europe is leading the way in terms of climate consciousness. It is worth noting that this country has seen a huge change in CO2 emissions, decreasing by more than 27% in the last decade.

    Europe’s most climate-conscious country

    Which are the best-performing European countries for each of our ‘Climate-Conscious’ index ranking factors?

    From the countries with the lowest CO2 emissions per capita, to those with the highest share of renewable energy consumption, these are the countries worth championing for their respective climate-conscious efforts:

    Latvia

    Latvia – 3.61t CO2/cap/yr

    Latvia, a Northern European country, has the lowest CO2 emissions in our ranking. Latvia aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, and with 3.61t of CO2 emissions per capita, it is well positioned to accomplish this.

    Norway

    Norway – 17.9g CO2/km

    According to recent EU data, the average new car emits around 110g CO2/km. In comparison, new passenger cars in Norway have a CO2 emission of just 17.9g CO2/km, much more climate-friendly than the EU average and a significant improvement from this country’s 27.6g CO2/km average from the previous year.

    Norway

    Norway – 79.30%

    With almost 80% of all cars sold in Norway being electric, this country soars above the rest regarding eco-friendly driving in Europe. To put this figure into perspective, Sweden has the second-highest percentage of electric vehicles across the continent, at just 33%, a long way off Norway’s uptake.

    Ireland

    Ireland – 0.675 overall indicator percentile

    Each country’s global green economy index score considers climate-conscious factors, including environmental health and sector decarbonisation. Regarding Europe, Ireland is in the 0.675 percentile regarding progress toward sustainability targets, which is higher than any other country on our list.

    Iceland

    Iceland – 75 ktCO2

    The dedicated environmental work across Iceland is paying off. This country has seen an astonishing turnaround in its carbon footprint, and industry emissions are no exception. When it comes to industry-wide fuel combustion, Iceland has an average CO2 emission of 75 ktCO2, which is the lowest total in Europe.

    Luxembourg

    Luxembourg – 179

    Luxembourg is known for its efforts in sustainable practices, further evidenced by its high eco-innovation index score. It was recently announced that Luxembourg is promoting green shipping through government measures, and initiatives like this have likely contributed to its index score of 179.

    Iceland

    Iceland – 99.40%

    According to recent data, renewables account for more than 99% of Iceland’s energy consumption, a higher percentage than in any other European country. Of all the different types of renewable energy in Iceland, hydropower and geothermal energy are the most used resources.

    Estonia has seen a reduction in CO2 emissions totalling more than 46%, a more significant change than any other European country

    We have examined CO2 emissions over the last ten years to determine which European countries are most changing their approach to climate activity.

    CO2 emissions

    1. Estonia – 46.03% reduction in CO2 emissions per capita

    Estonia has made many changes over the years to help reduce carbon emissions, including developing fuel-efficient transport and reforestation measures. These initiatives are paying off, evidenced by a 46.03% reduction in CO2 emissions per capita since 2012.

    2. Luxembourg – 39.96% reduction in CO2 emissions per capita

    Luxembourg appears next in our top three European countries with the most significant change in CO2 emissions. This country may have one of the biggest current CO2 emissions totals, but this figure has reduced by almost 40% since 2012, which is a big step in the right direction.

    3. Malta – 39.24% reduction in CO2 emissions per capita

    Malta is just shy of the second spot on our list. From an average CO2 emission total of 6.48 tCO2 per capita in 2012, this figure has reduced by 39.24% in the last decade to 3.93 tCO2 per capita.

    CO2 emissions

    The Netherlands has more electric vehicle charging points than any other European country, totalling 828 per 100,000 residents

    The Netherlands is firmly cemented as the future of transportation over diesel alternatives, but which countries are doing the most to accommodate electric vehicle charging points?

    Electric vehicle charging points

    1. Netherlands – 828 charging points per 100,000 residents

    In an attempt to convert to more sustainable modes of transport, it is estimated that there are now more than 700,000 electric vehicles in the Netherlands. In addition, there are roughly 828 electric vehicle charging points per 100,000 residents, which is more than any other European country.

    2. Norway – 493 charging points per 100,000 residents

    After being revealed as having the most considerable percentage of new electric vehicles in Europe earlier in this report, it may be no surprise to see Norway featured here. This country has 493 electric vehicle charging points per 100,000 residents.

    3. Iceland – 416 charging points per 100,000 residents

    Iceland completes our top three list of European countries with the most electric vehicle charging points. Although this country has the fewest number of charging points, 1,560, when the population is considered, this equates to 416 per 100,000 residents, the third-highest on our list.

    Totalling 1.96bn tonnes of equivalent CO2, electricity and heat is the most significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Europe

    Given the current climate, choosing a sustainable business energy supply is more important than ever. Which industry sectors are currently the most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions?

    Greenhouse gas emissions

    1. Electricity and heat – 1.96bn tCO2eq

    Of all the sectors on our ranking, electricity and heat production are the biggest culprits of greenhouse gas emissions in Europe — it’s not all doom and gloom, though. Iceland is leading by example as this country is currently not producing any electricity and heat greenhouse gas emissions.

    2. Transport – 1.14bn tCO2eq

    With a population of more than 740 million, it’s no surprise that many of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transport. Of the 1.14bn tCO2eq of emissions in this sector, Romania has the lowest production of greenhouse gases in Europe.

    3. Buildings – 779.64mn tCO2eq

    Buildings can produce greenhouse gas emissions in various ways, from using materials like cement to the construction process. Iceland makes another appearance on this list as it has the lowest building emission total in Europe, totalling 93,099 tCO2eq per 100,000 residents.

    Norway has seen a higher percentage of electric truck sales than any other European country, totalling 11%

    Trucks are hugely important for transporting goods, but which countries are adopting electric trucks the most? Here’s what we found.

    Electric truck sales

    1. Norway – 11% electric truck sales share

    It has already been revealed that Norway is leading the way in terms of electric vehicles, and trucks are no exception. Of all the trucks sold in Norway last year, one in 10 of these sales were for electric alternatives.

    2. Switzerland – 8.20% electric truck sales share

    Electric trucks have many environmental benefits, including noise and air pollution reduction. Many truck drivers in Switzerland are now using them as a mode of transport, making up 8.20% of all truck sales in 2023.

    3. France – 6.20% electric truck sales share

    France completes our top three list of European countries with the most significant share of electric trucks. As of 2023, electric trucks make up more than 6% of all truck sales, helping to reduce pollution levels in this country.

    Almost 30% of all vans in Norway are electric, a bigger proportion than any other European country

    The following list reveals the European countries with the most considerable proportion of electric vans as a percentage of all van sales.

    As we’ve seen in our study, home energy efficiency can vary considerably depending on where you are in the country, which can mean higher bills and colder homes. Therefore, we thought it would be helpful to provide tips on ensuring your home is as energy-efficient as possible.

    Double or triple-glazing

    Ensuring your windows are properly insulated is a great place to start when looking to improve your home’s energy efficiency. A lot of heat energy escapes our homes via the windows, even when shut, as glass provides a thin barrier between the indoors and the weather.

    Installing double glazing has been popular for a while now and is an excellent way of reducing the amount of heat loss via windows in your home. Double-glazed windows are made of two panes of glass with a gap of air between them, which slows the transfer of heat. Double glazing has been around for a while, but some homes haven’t upgraded their windows.

    Triple glazing takes the same principle and simply adds another pane of glass, creating an additional air gap in your window. This helps to slow the transfer of heat even further, helping to keep your heating bills under control.

    Update your boiler

    The boilers in our homes get a lot of use year-round, producing hot water for all our domestic needs and heating our homes in the colder months. Because of this, the energy efficiency of our boilers is significant for determining how much energy a household uses and how big the utility bills will be at the end of the month.

    As boilers have long lifespans of 15 years or more, we might need to remember to upgrade them to a newer model when the time comes. Older boilers use much more energy than newer models, which use modern, more efficient technologies. If your boiler is starting to feel its age, consider upgrading it sooner rather than later to help keep your energy bills down.

    Switch to a heat pump

    Heat pumps are a cleaner and more efficient way of heating your home than a traditional gas boiler. Many households with heat pumps see a reduction in their monthly bills, so it could be a good option for people struggling with the rising cost of living.

    Heat pumps are compatible with most UK homes, requiring no more maintenance than a traditional boiler. Government funding is in place to help households adopt this new technology, with up to £7,500 available in England and Wales, while Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate schemes.

    Use LED bulbs

    LED bulbs are a surefire way to reduce the energy used in your home and save money on your electricity bills. These bulbs are much more efficient than traditional incandescent and CFL bulbs, offering brighter light at a lower wattage.

    LED bulbs may be slightly more expensive, but in addition to using less power, they also last far longer, making them the cheaper option in the long run.

    Beware vampire devices

    A significant portion of the energy used in our homes is wasted on so-called “vampire devices”, which soak up electricity even when unused. You can counter this by unplugging devices in your home while not in use and switching off unused plug sockets. This should help to reduce energy wastage in your home.

    Additionally, beware of leaving devices in standby mode, as they will still use some energy. Devices such as TVs, record players and computers have standby or “sleep” modes, which can be helpful if you use them frequently. However, for devices not in regular use, or if you’re out of the house for an extended period, consider switching them off entirely or even unplugging them.

    Draught-proof your home

    Another way to ensure your home is as energy-efficient as possible is to eliminate draughts. A draughty home will leak any warm air into the atmosphere, making it much more difficult and expensive to heat the property. Draughts are commonly found around doors and windows, especially in older properties.

    You can also use internal draught excluders around doorways to keep warm air from escaping certain rooms. This allows you to only heat the parts of the house you intend to use, saving on your energy bills.

    Install insulation

    Installing insulation is an excellent way of making your home more accessible and cheaper to heat, as it will stay warmer for much longer. Insulation, such as loft insulation, wall cavity insulation, and underfloor insulation, can warm your property.

    Most homes could benefit from several types of insulation to achieve the best effect, though this will depend on the specific property.

    Generate your own energy

    Producing your own energy is an excellent way of reducing your energy bills and the CO2 emissions of your home. Installing solar panels on your roof is the most common option and can supply enough energy to power most of your household needs.

    Using solar panels or other renewable sources, such as a small wind turbine, to generate your own electricity makes you much less reliant on the national grid and the prices set by energy companies. Additionally, these options are great for the environment, dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of your entire household.

    Electric Van Sales

    1. Norway – 29% electric van sales share

    Norway is appearing at the top of another one of our climate-conscious lists, this time regarding the sales share of electric vans. Recent data reveals that almost 30% of all vans sold in Norway are electric, a higher percentage than any other country on our list.

    2. Sweden – 19% electric van sales share

    Sweden is next on our list, with a 19% share of electric van sales. In addition to the environmental benefits of electric vans, these vehicles are much more cost-effective than diesel alternatives in terms of fuel, which will be favourable to many van drivers in today’s economic climate.

    3. Finland – 15% electric van sales share

    Most vehicles in Finland are estimated to be electric by 2030, and vans are no exception. Of all van sales in 2023, one in six will be electric, the third-highest proportion of all the European countries on our list.

    Methodology

    We made a list of all countries in Europe. Russia and Ukraine were removed from the seeding list.

    We used EDGAR to find the number of CO2 emissions per capita in 2012 and 2022 for each country.

    We subtracted the 2022 CO2 emission total from the 2012 figure before dividing this by the 2012 total to calculate each country’s change in CO2 emissions per capita.

    We used ACEA to find the average CO2 emissions for new cars in each country as of 2022. Data for Switzerland and the UK were sourced from Swiss Info and Statista, respectively.

    We used EuroNews to find the share of fully electric passenger cars among newly registered cars as of 2022. Data for Malta was sourced from the National Statistics Office.

    We used Dual Citizen to find each country’s global green economy index score (progress result) as of May 2024.

    After filtering the data by ‘Sectoral analysis’, ‘industry’, and ‘reallocated’, we used the International Energy Agency to find each country’s 2022 global CO2 emissions total from fuel combustion.

    We used the European Environment Agency to find each country’s eco-innovation index score and the share of renewable energy consumption as of 2022. Renewable energy consumption data for Switzerland, Iceland and the UK were sourced from Statista, the International Energy Agency and Sky News, respectively.

    We used the climate-related factors (CO2 emissions per capita, change in CO2 emissions, CO2 emissions from passenger cars, percentage of electric cars, global green economy index score, industry CO2 emissions, eco-innovation index score, and share of renewable energy consumption) and normalised each factor out of 10 before taking an average of those scores to get our overall ‘climate-conscious’ score for each country.

    We used Our World in Data to find the total number of greenhouse gas emissions per sector in Europe as of 2020 and each country’s total emissions per sector. We divided the total number of emissions by each country’s population before multiplying this figure by 100,000 to calculate the number of emissions per 100,000 residents.

    We used the International Energy Agency to find the sales share of electric vans and electric trucks, as well as the number of publicly fast and publicly slow electric vehicle charging points in 2023. We added these figures together to find an overall EV charging point total.

    We divided the total number of EV charging points by the country’s population before multiplying this figure by 100,000 to calculate the number of EV charging points per 100,000 residents.

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