According to data submitted to the EU by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency, companies covered by the emissions trading scheme (ETS) made major cuts, in part due to the global economic crisis.

A statement from the EPA said: “This very large year-on-year reduction reflects the severity of the economic downturn, which began to have significant impact during 2008 and which is now very evident.

“It also continues a well established downward trend in our recorded emissions since the ETS commenced in 2005. In the EU as a whole, results for 2009 – from almost 10,000 installations in the ETS – show an overall reduction of over 11% on 2008.”

Whether Ireland’s above-average performance is due to its efforts to cut emissions or its being hit harder than most by recession is unclear.

Dr Ken Macken, programme manager at the EPA, said: “Emissions Trading Scheme installations with the largest reductions in emissions are mainly in the power generation and cement sectors reflecting the significant drop in activity in construction and electricity consumption.

“It should be noted that the Allocation Plan covers a five year period and the overall outcome will not be clear until the end of 2012.”

Over 100 major industrial and institutional sites in Ireland are covered by the Emissions Trading Scheme.

These include power generation, other combustion, cement, lime, glass and ceramic plants and oil refining.

Also included are large companies in areas such as food & drink, pharmaceuticals and semi-conductors.

Sam Bond

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