ETS emissions fell in 2014

1st June 2015

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Hugh Chown

Total greenhouse-gas emissions from the 11,000 plus installations in the EU emissions trading system (ETS) declined 4.5% in 2014, according to the European commission. Figures also reveal that the number of surplus ETS allowances was 2.07 billion at the end of last year.

The verified data shows that 1.8 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions were released by ETS installations across 28 member states, as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein in 2014. This compares with almost 1.9 billion tonnes in 2013.

Miguel Arias Cañete, commissioner for climate action and energy, said the figures showed that the EU could cut emissions at the same time as growing its economy. “Even while our economies are getting back in the growth track, emissions continue to decrease. This once again shows that economic growth and climate protection can go hand in hand,” he said.

The cumulative surplus in ETS allowances fell from around 2.1 billion in 2013 to 2.07 billion in 2014, said the commission. It reported that verified emissions from aviation activities carried out between airports in the European economic area in 2014 amounted to 54.9 million tonnes of CO2, 2.8% more than in 2013.

The commission also said that fewer than 1% of the installations did not surrender allowances covering all their emissions by the deadline of 30 April 2015.

The data came after member states and the European parliament agreed a 2019 start date for a system to automatically transfer a portion of ETS allowances into a market stability reserve if the surfeit exceeds a specified threshold. ETS campaign group Sandbag hailed the deal as a “landmark agreement” and described it as a powerful step towards correcting the imbalance in Europe’s carbon market. It should remove around 2.2 billion allowances from the market by the end of 2020, it estimates.

Meanwhile, MEPs on the environment committee have voted to cap emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide from medium-size combustion plants. The proposals would apply to existing combustion plants with a rated thermal input above 15MW from 2020, while the limits would apply to those with an input of between 5MW and 15MW from 2022, and below 5MW from 2027.


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