Emissions of greenhouse gases from all operators covered by the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) reduced overall by 8.7 per cent in 2019 according to the data published on the European Union Transaction Log (EUTL). This year the European Commission is set to revise the block’s emission reduction target for 2030 with possible implications for the Emissions Trading System as well.
Under the ETS, the EU charges for the right to emit carbon dioxide. European power generators, industrial emitters and airlines running flights within the EU must buy permits to cover their emissions and are required to report their verified emissions.
In 2019 the EU carbon market emissions fell by 8.7 per cent. The Commission takes note that the reduction of GHG emissions took place in the context of a growing EU economy with 1.5 per cent EU 28 GDP growth.
The biggest reduction was achieved in the power sector with a decrease of 15 per cent reflecting decarbonisation from coal being replaced by electricity from renewables and gas-fired power production. Emissions from industry (including the production of iron and steel, cement, chemicals and refineries) decreased by 2 per cent.
Verified emissions of greenhouse gases from stationary installations (power plants and manufacturing installations) amounted to 1.527 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent in 2019, that constitutes a 9 per cent decline compared to 2018.
Aviation emissions increased by one per cent, significantly smaller than in previous years amounting to 68.14 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent. More than half of these emissions were covered by allowances acquired from auctions or other sectors.
Despite the ETS results, many think that the system still falls short of its potential to keep the EU on track towards its climate commitments and that the more ambitious emission targets could be met only by reforming the EU ETS.
Countries like the Netherlands or France already suggested to add a carbon floor price in the EU ETS but their proposal met strong resistance from other member states, like Poland who cited concerns that the economic downturn in the wake of the pandemic will make EU climate policies harder to achieve.