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Environmental Accounts – Emissions to air fourth quarter of 2018

Greenhouse gas emissions by the Swedish economy unchanged in 2018

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2019-05-09 9.30

Greenhouse gas emissions by the Swedish economy remained largely unchanged between 2017 and 2018, according to new preliminary statistics for 2018. At the same time, GDP growth was 2 percent. However, in some industries, such as electricity, gas and heat producers, the emissions increased between 2017 and 2018.

Preliminary statistics for 2018 on emissions by industry are now available. Preliminary statistics are the sum of the quarterly statistics in 2018, in which the fourth quarter is now ready.

In 2018, greenhouse gas emissions by the Swedish economy amounted to 63.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents. The emissions level remains largely unchanged from 2017, when greenhouse gas emissions were 63.3 million tonnes. The preliminary emissions statistics for 2018 are in line with the development in previous years, in which emissions levels by the Swedish economy and households remained largely unchanged between 2014 and 2018. At the same time, the Swedish economy is growing. In 2018, GDP rose by 2 percent since 2017 and by 12 percent since 2014.

Greenhouse gas emissions by the Swedish economy, and the development of GDP, 2008–2018, constant prices 2017 (summed quarters) Index 2008=100

Greenhouse gas emissions by the Swedish economy, and the development of GDP, 2008–2018, thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents and SEK millions, constant prices 2017 (summed quarters) Index 2008=100

*2018 preliminary. Source: Statistics Sweden

Emissions by the energy sector are increasing

Emissions by the electricity, gas, heat, water and waste industry, in which the production of electricity and heat accounts for a large part, increased between 2017 and 2018. The preliminary result reveals that greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 amounted to 8.6 million tonnes, which is an increase of 4 percent compared with the previous year. This is mainly due to increased use of fossil fuels in the first months of the year, and colder temperatures in 2018 compared with 2017. The development of the economy for this industry was relatively unchanged in the same period.

Greenhouse gas emissions by the manufacturing sector, which account for nearly one quarter of total emissions by the Swedish economy, were largely unchanged between 2017 and 2018, while the economy rose by nearly 3 percent. While emissions are increasing in some manufacturing sectors, such as the manufacture of paper and printing, manufacture of coke and refineries and chemical production, they are decreasing in other sectors, in particular in steel and metal production.

The model-estimated results also show an increase of greenhouse gas emissions in the construction and the services sectors. Emissions have increased by 4 percent and 2 percent between 2017 and 2018 respectively. The economy in the construction sector grew by 4 percent in the same period and the services sector grew by 3 percent.

Greenhouse gas emissions and economic development 2018, percentage change compared with 2017

Greenhouse gas emissions and economic development 2018, percentage change compared with 2017

Source: Statistics Sweden

Greenhouse gas emissions and value added 2018, by industry NACE 2007. Thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents, SEK millions, constant prices 2017, (summed quarters)
NACE 2007 industry Greenhouse gas emissions Value Added
  2018 Change compared to 2017 2018 Change compared to 2017
Agriculture, forestry and fishery 9 229 ‑85 ‑0.9% 46 689 ‑2 187 ‑4.5%
Mining 1 133 10 0.9% 21 014 27 0.1%
Manufacturing 15 093 61 0.4% 639 997 18 141 2.9%
Electricity, gas, heat, water, waste 8 625 296 3.6% 115 400 ‑15 0.0%
Construction 2 041 75 3.8% 268 450 11 208 4.4%
Transport 14 086 63 0.5% 172 302 720 0.4%
Other services 3 450 76 2.2% 1 999 352 65 778 3.4%
Public sector 710 2 0.3% 827 963 2 043 0.2%
Households and non-profit institutions [1] 9 396 ‑1 0.0% 54 201 216 0.4%
Total economy 63 763 498 0.8% 4 145 368 95 931 2.4%

[1] Only non-profit institutions provide value added.

Emissions unchanged in fourth quarter of 2018

Emissions by the Swedish economy amounted to 16.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents in the fourth quarter of 2018. This is roughly the same level of emissions as in the fourth quarter of 2017. GDP in the fourth quarter of 2018 was about 2 percent higher than in the same quarter of the previous year.

Greenhouse gas emissions and economic development, non-seasonally adjusted. 2008Q1-2018Q4

Greenhouse gas emissions and economic development, non-seasonally adjusted. 2008Q1-2018Q4

Source: Statistics Sweden

Statistics from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency also publishes statistics on emissions to air within Sweden’s territory, in which emissions from international transport is not included. The result shows that emissions went from 52.6 million tonnes in 2017 to 53.1 million tonnes in 2018.


Since the previous publication on 2019-01-31, the following revisions have been made:

  • Updated annual statistics of the environmental accounts has led to minor updates in all industries and quarters. The allocation key has been updated including emissions from working machines and heating, which has affected the quarterly statistics. In addition, the allocation key for reallocating mobile emissions by quarter has been updated.
  • Updates for the quarters 2018Q1-2018Q3 on process-related emissions, due to new data available.

Note that emissions by mobile combustion for preliminary emissions for 2018 are based on a projection using the economic development. This is due to a new setting in an important data source Monthly fuel, gas and inventory statistics from 2018, which is expected to be implemented 2019Q1. All in all, this uncertainty affects mobile combustion, which is about 45 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. This should be taken into account when interpreting the statistics. This affects the development in 2018 for the transport sector, public sector and the households in particular. The total emissions increase of greenhouse gases from mobile combustion is estimated to about 0.5 percent between 2017 and 2018.

More information (in Swedish) on the revisions is available on the Environmental Accounts’ product page under Documentation.

Environmental Accounts

Definitions and explanations

Frequently asked questions – climate change statistics

Statistics Sweden and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency are publishing statistics today about emissions to air and climate for the fourth quarter of 2018 and a preliminary total for the year 2018.

The statistics presented by Statistics Sweden and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency differ. Some simple questions and answers follow below about why they differ and what the statistics can be used for.

What are the statistics about?

These statistics cover emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollution.

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency are responsible for the statistics from the territory of Sweden, also called territorial statistics and Statistics Sweden is responsible for the statistics on emissions by the economy, as a part of the System of Environmental Economic Accounting. Both of these statistical products are classified as official statistics, which means that they follow guidelines on when and how the statistics are to be published, how the quality is to be assured and the documentation design.

Are there differences in the statistics – and if so, why?

The System of Environmental Economic Accounting is constructed using the national accounts as a base and present environmental and economic statistics in a common system. The point of departure is Swedish economic actors, independent of where in the world their environmental impact occurs. As the focus lay on the economic actors that are included, activities such as international transport are included in the same way that they are included in economic statistics. As such, these results show typically larger emission levels than the territorial emissions.

The territorial statistics on greenhouse gas emissions show territorial emissions, that is, the emissions that occurred within Sweden’s borders.

This often leads to different levels in these two statistical products (see an example from 2017 below). Sometimes the changes between years can also differ.

Comparison of Environmental Accounts data on total production-based emissions and Swedish EPA data on total territory-based emissions

Source: Statistics Sweden, Environmental Accounts and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

Are the differences significant for how the statistics can be used?

Yes, they are significant. Territorial statistics looks at the amount of emissions of climate change gases released within Sweden’s borders and are used to monitor the development of emissions in comparison with defined climate change targets in Sweden, the EU and the UN.

The climate change statistics that are reported to the UN are constructed to present which emission sources are present in the different countries. Here, it may be expected that these countries have a large impact on the laws and regulations that apply and are be able to make calculations on the reduction targets for that country.

The statistics that are produced within the environmental accounts can instead answer the question on which parts of production and consumption contribute to the emissions. It is also possible to make analyses by linking the statistics to industries and products to look at prices on natural resources and addressing other questions, such as the impact of employment.

Why are two different government agencies producing almost identical statistics?

In Sweden, the Government has appointed 28 government agencies to be responsible for official statistics within their respective areas. Within the area of environment, four government agencies are responsible for official statistics. The Swedish EPA is responsible for official statistics on emissions, waste, implementation of the Environmnental Code and the state of the environment. In the same field, Statistics Sweden is responsible for official statistics in environmental accounts, which is based on the economic statistics that Statistics Sweden is also responsible for and sustainable development, that connects statistics from a range of areas, land use, water use, and fertilisers and lime.

Why are there two different statistical frameworks on emissions to air and climate? 

The two different statistical standards for emissions to air and climate answer different questions. Questions about how the economy effects the environment needs to be answered using other system boundaries than questions about what happens with the environmental impact within a country. The frameworks have been developed by experts who have ensured that the statistics that are produced are globally comparable for the specific purpose they serve. All countries that produce this type of statistics must follow the dedicated framework and do their best to ensure that the same activities are included in the statistics for comparability.

For international reporting to the climate change convention, the guidelines have been developed by the UN panel on climate change:

For environmental accounts, a statistical standard is available, developed by the UN Statistical Division.

Both types of statistical products are reported at the international level, to the UN, to Eurostat, and to the European Environment Agency, through regulations and conventions.

What are the government agencies doing to cooperate?

The two government agencies develop common documents that describe the statistics to create a consensus on what we do. We also take part together in conferences and in other platforms to inform about the work we do. Please listen to the podcast at Statistics Sweden, in which we discuss climate change statistics together (in Swedish): På tal om siffror - Miljö och klimat.

The largest cooperation by far is conducted through the Swedish consortium SMED (Swedish Environmental Emissions Data), in which Statistics Sweden is a partner and the Swedish EPA is the commissioner. SMED produces the annual and the quarterly statistics to the Swedish EPA for the territorial statistics. The commission for the quarterly statistics is carried out in close cooperation with the team for environmental accounts that has developed an effective production system for producing quarterly statistics for both the economy and the territory of Sweden. This work includes an exchange of data and knowledge between the agencies.

Are you interested in finding out more about the differences in the statistics, read more here (in Swedish):

About the territorial statistics:

Kvartals- och preliminära årsvisa växthusgasutsläpp

About the environmental accounts calculations for emissions to air and climate change:

Kvalitetsdeklaration: Miljöräkenskaperna – Utsläpp till luft per kvartal, 2008-2018 (pdf) 

A joint description of the statistics:

Tre sätt att beräkna klimatpåverkande utsläpp

Next publishing will be

The next statistical news, on quarterly emissions to air for the first quarter 2019, is scheduled for publication on 2019-08-29 at 09.30.

Statistical Database

More information is available in the Statistical Database

Feel free to use the facts from this statistical news but remember to state Source: Statistics Sweden.

Statistical agency and producer

Statistics Sweden, Environmental accounts and Environment

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Susanna Roth

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