Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Luxembourg

Overview of greenhouse gases and emissions per capita in Luxembourg. Are they prepared to meet net zero targets and invest in the energy transition?
Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Luxembourg
Overview of greenhouse gases and emissions per capita in Luxembourg. Are they prepared to meet net zero targets and invest in the energy transition?
Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Luxembourg
Overview of greenhouse gases and emissions per capita in Luxembourg. Are they prepared to meet net zero targets and invest in the energy transition?

What percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions does Luxembourg produce?

Luxembourg produced 0.02% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 (the latest date with complete emissions data). This amounted to 9.17m metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or MtCO₂e. These emissions represented an increase from 2020 by 4%.

In the period from 1990 to 2021 their emissions have decreased by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -0.91% and Luxembourg has contributed 0.03% of global greenhouse emissions.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in USD$86.7bn
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 20219.17m
Change in Emissions since 20204%
Percentage of Total Emissions (2021)0.02%
Rank – Emitters in 2021141
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions since 1990349m
Compound Annual Growth – Emissions since 1990-0.91%
Percentage of Total Emissions (1990-2021)0.03%
GDP Per Capita (USD)$136k
Emissions Per Capita14.4

In 2021, Luxembourg was the world’s 141st largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions. The largest emitters in the same period were China, the United States, India, Russia and Brazil.

When looking at emissions over time Luxembourg is the 134th largest emitter since 1990.

Emissions per capita in Luxembourg – average household carbon footprint

The population of Luxembourg is 639k. On a per capita basis, they produce 14.4 tonnes of CO2e per person, placing them 20th out of 191 on emissions produced per capita. The biggest per capita emitters are Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Turkmenistan.

What is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Luxembourg?


89.6% of emissions in Luxembourg came from Carbon Dioxide (CO2), 6% came from Methane (CH4), and 3.9% came from Nitrous Oxide (N2O).


The sector that produced the most emissions in 2021 was the energy industry, producing 8.07m of GHG emissions, constituting 87.9% of total.

The second and third largest emitting sectors were bunker fuels and agriculture, producing 20.5% and 6.9% of total GHG in Luxembourg.


The industry that produced the most energy related emissions was the transportation industry, producing 5.12m of GHG emissions, constituting 55.9% of total emissions.

The second and third largest emitting sectors were building and manufacturing/construction, emitting 1.64m and 944k tonnes of GHG each.

Land Use Change and Forestry

Land use change and forestry (LUCF), such as deforestation and conversion of natural ecosystems to agricultural or urban areas, can have a significant impact on carbon emissions.

  • Trees and other vegetation absorb and store carbon through the process of photosynthesis, and when they are cut down or burned, that stored carbon is released into the atmosphere.
  • Deforestation and other forms of land use change can also reduce the ability of ecosystems to absorb and store carbon in the future. Additionally, the conversion of land for agriculture or urban development can lead to the release of carbon stored in the soil.
  • On the other hand, sustainable forestry practices, such as reforestation and afforestation, can help to remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in trees and other vegetation.

In the case of Luxembourg, LUCF had a positive impact on Luxembourg’s emissions, decreasing their carbon footprint by 275k tonnes.

After accounting for land use change and forestry, the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions in Luxembourg in 2021 was 8.9m metric tonnes.

How vulnerable is Luxembourg to the impact of climate change?

The Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN) Index

The ND-GAIN Index measures countries’ vulnerability to global challenges, including climate change, and their readiness to improve resilience.

Luxembourg scores 68.4 on the ND-Gain Index and is classified in the ‘low vulnerability and high readiness’ category of climate change preparedness.

The index aims to assist businesses, governments, and communities in prioritising investments for a more efficient response to global shifts.

It is measured by combining two main components:

  1. Vulnerability: This evaluates a country’s vulnerability to environmental risks and its ability to adapt. It considers health, food and water availability, infrastructure, and ecosystem services. A higher score indicates greater vulnerability to environmental challenges.
  2. Readiness: This measures how well a country can leverage investments to mitigate climate change. It considers economic stability, governance, technology, and infrastructure. A higher score means a country is better prepared to implement resilience strategies.

This ranking helps identify areas where resources and adaptation strategies can be most effectively directed to mitigate risks and enhance resilience.

By combining these dimensions, the index provides a comprehensive approach to measuring countries’ ability to cope with the impacts of climate change.

Low vulnerability and high readiness in Luxembourg

In terms of readiness to adapt to climate change, Luxembourg ranks in the top 10% group. Globally, the average readiness score is 0.424, with Luxembourg posting a score of 0.67.

They show the greatest strength in governance aspects, while their performance in economic aspects requires improvement.

  • Governance readiness refers to the political, legal, and regulatory aspects influencing a country’s adaptation to climate change, including stability, corruption control, and law enforcement.
  • Economic readiness refers to the business environment and its capacity to adapt to climate change, emphasizing the importance of a supportive regulatory framework for adaptation initiatives.

Regarding vulnerability to climate change, Luxembourg falls into the top 10% category. Compared to the global average vulnerability score of 0.431, Luxembourg has a score of 0.302.

Their resilience is most notable in food areas, yet they face significant challenges in habitat.

  • Food vulnerability refers to the sensitivity of agricultural yields and import dependencies, as well the capacity to adapt through agricultural resources. Innovations in agriculture can mitigate food insecurity risks due to climate change.
  • Human habitat refers to the growth of cities and their capacity to withstand climate change impacts like floods and heatwaves. Improved infrastructure enhances urban resilience to extreme weather events.

The formula to calculate the ND-GAIN Index is

GAIN Index=(Readiness Indicators−Vulnerability Indicators+1)×50GAIN Index=(Readiness Indicators−Vulnerability Indicators+1)×50

In this formula:

  • The Readiness Indicators are measured on a scale of 0 to 1, where a higher score means that the readiness is better.
  • The Vulnerability Indicators are also measured on a scale of 0 to 1, but a lower score indicates better vulnerability in this case. 
  • The difference between the Readiness and Vulnerability scores is calculated and then incremented by 1. 
  • Finally, the result is multiplied by 50 to convert the GAIN Index score to a range of 0-100, where a higher score means the situation is better.

Is there a correlation between greenhouse gas emissions and economic growth in Luxembourg?

In 2021, the gross domestic product (GDP) in Luxembourg grew by 16.1% from the previous year, with the economy moving from $73.7bn to $85.6bn. During the same period, carbon emissions increased by 4%. Over the ten-year period from 2011 to 2021, GDP grew 38.7%, while emissions decreased by -22.9%.

To put this into context, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of GDP in Luxembourg over the past ten years was 3.3%, and the CAGR for greenhouse gas emissions was -2.6%.


World Resources Institute, 2022. Climate Watch Historical GHG Emissions. [online] Washington, DC. Available at:

Global Carbon Project, 2023. Supplemental data of Global Carbon Budget 2023 (Version 1.1) [Data set]. Global Carbon Project. Available at:

UNFCCC, 2023. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Data. [online] Available at:

Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative, 2023. ND-GAIN Country Index. [online] Available at:

FAO, 2022. Land-Use Change and Forestry or Agriculture indicators from FAOSTAT Emissions Database. [online] Available at:

OECD/IEA, 2022. CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion. [online] Available at:

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