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Energy Crisis, War Inflation Drive Down Austria’s CO2 Pollution

(Bloomberg) -- Austria slashed its greenhouse gas pollution in 2022 despite producing more goods as its industrial economy responded to the energy crisis kicked off by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

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Carbon dioxide emissions fell by 6.4%, or 5 million tons — equivalent to the volume of pollution emitted by about 12 natural gas plants — despite economic growth of just under 5%, according to the Environment Agency Austria.

It’s the first time Austria’s agricultural, building, industrial and transport sectors all managed to cut pollution.

“Emissions are now falling not just in forecasts but in reality,” Leonore Gewessler, Austria’s climate and energy minister, said in a statement.

European Union members are legally required to reduce emissions by 2030 or potentially face billions of euros in fines. Austria had pledge to cut its emissions by almost half compared with 2005 levels. The 2022 reduction moved the country 28% toward that goal.

Austrian industry led the decline, with a 7.2% drop in emissions, equivalent to more than 2 million tons of carbon dioxide handled by the EU’s emissions trading system. Last year’s energy crisis, which created record inflation, forced many companies to lower fuel consumption and become more efficient.

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