The European Union has revealed that greenhouse gas emissions fell 1.3% in 2012, representing an overall decrease of 19.2% from 1990 levels.

The official data published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows that the EU is well on track to meet its 20% reduction by 2020 target.

The AEE credits the growing role of renewables, reduction in transport and less industrial action across Europe for helping cut emissions by 1.3%. Italy led the way in greenhouse emission reduction, accounting for 45% of the total EU net reduction in 2012. The EEA believes that Italy achieved this through lower emissions from transport and industry. However, both the UK and Germany actually increased emissions in 2012 due to a jump in use of solid fuels.

Commenting on the new figures, Hans Bruyninckx, EEA executive director, said: “The EU has demonstrated that there is no conflict between a growing economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Policies have been at the heart of this success. We need to go even further, but this will depend on countries implementing policies which already map a path towards a low carbon, energy secure society.”

In total, emissions have decreased by 1,082Mt across the EU since 1990 – more than the total combined 2012 emissions of the UK and Italy. Over the same time, per capita greenhouse gas emissions in the EU have decreased by almost a quarter, from 12 to nine tonnes.