EU ETS emissions fall 2% but surplus allowances approach 2 billion

Greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and manufacturing installations participating in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) fell by 2% last year, according to new data from the European Union (EU).

According to the EU, greenhouse gas emissions from “stationary installations” have fallen to 1,867 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent last year, about 2% below the 2011 level for installations.

The EU ETS covers more than 12,000 power plants and manufacturing installations in the 27 EU member states, Norway and Liechtenstein.

EU climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: “The good news is that emissions declined again in 2012. The bad news is that the supply-demand imbalance has further worsened in large part due to a record use of international credits.

“At the start of phase 3, we see a surplus of almost two billion allowances. These facts underline the need for the European Parliament and Council to act swiftly on back-loading,” she added.

Approaching two billion allowances means that the allowance surplus for emissions doubled in 2012, rising from around 950 million at the end of 2011.

In April, the European Parliament voted against a ‘back-loading’ of carbon emissions allowances. The European Commission proposed to freeze 900 million allowances from the market over the next two years in a plan to push up the price of carbon and make low carbon investments more attractive.

Leigh Stringer

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