EU ETS emissions fall by 4.4%
Emissions from 10,000 of Europe's most polluting power stations and factories have fallen by more than 4%, according to figures released on Wednesday.
The number comes from verified data submitted by 87% of the 12,000 installations covered by the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS).
The 4.4% fall in emissions is thanks to the growth of renewables and a mild winter in 2014, according to data-provider Carbon Market Data. The drop also outpaced the annual shrinking of the overall ETS cap, which reduces by 1.74% each year between 2013 and 2020, targeting a 20% cut in total emissions compared with 2012.
Three UK power stations ranked in the top-15 biggest polluters in Europe, but all three saw a double-digit drop in emissions. Overall, British facilities covered by the ETS reduced emissions by 11%.
The news of an emissions drop was welcomed by business leaders with Howard Chase, an executive at the Dow Chemical Company, claiming it showed that the market mechanism was effective.
EU CO2 down #EUETS = reduced demand for permits = lower prices to meet targets = market mechanism working well = great care on intervention— Howard Chase (@HowardJChase) April 1, 2015
However, Europe's climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said the amount of emissions allowed by the scheme should be lowered, as there could be up to two billion surplus allowances in the system.
An analyst at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon added that economic growth had led to increased emissions in areas of industry not already covered by the ETS, leading to an increase of 0.8% in overall industrial emissions.
In March, lobby group Transport and Environment (T&E), argued that the ETS should be extended to biomass plants, which reportedly that burning biomass generate between 90-150 million tonnes of CO2.