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EU greenhouse gas emissions lower in 2013

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World Cement,

Data indicates that emissions of greenhouse gases from installations participating in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) decreased by an estimated 3% in 2013.

More than 12 000 power plants and manufacturing installations participate in the EU ETS in the 28 EU member states, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Verified emissions of greenhouse gases from stationary installations amounted to 1895 million t of CO2-equivalent last year, running at least 3% below the 2012 level on a like-for-like basis. (A direct comparison is difficult due to the extension in scope of the EU ETS beginning in 2013 for the third trading period, which runs to 2020.)

Allowance surplus growing again

The cumulative surplus in emission allowances increased further to more than 2.1 billion for the 2013 compliance year from almost 2 billion at the end of 2012. The 2013 figure takes into account the exchange of international credits into allowances, sales of phase 3 allowances to generate funds for the NER300 programme to support innovative low-carbon technologies, allowances allocated for 2013 and auctioning of phase 3 allowances in 2013. It is expected that in 2014 the surplus will start to shrink as the implementation of back-loading started in the first quarter of 2014.

High level of compliance

Companies' level of compliance with the EU ETS rules was again high. Less than 1% of the installations which have reported emissions for 2013 did not surrender allowances covering all their emissions by the deadline of 30 April 2014. These installations are typically small and together account for less than 1% of emissions covered by the EU ETS. For this first reporting year of the third trading period, about 3% of stationary installations subject to compliance obligations in 2013 did not report their emissions by 30 April 2014, according to registry data.

Exchanges of international credits

Since 2013, credits gained from investment in emission-reduction projects undertaken in third countries can no longer be directly surrendered for ETS compliance but must be exchanged into allowances.

Of the 132.8 million credits that were exchanged for allowances by 30 April 2014, 50% were Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) and 50% Emission Reduction Units (ERUs). The origin of these CERs and ERUs was from a limited number of countries, with 80% of CERs originating from China and nearly 5% from India, and 70% of ERUs from Ukraine and 25% from Russia. For full details, view the original press release here.

Market stability

Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: "The good news is that emissions declined faster than in previous years even as Europe’s economies started to recover from the recession. However, there is still a growing surplus of emission allowances that risks undermining the orderly functioning of the carbon market. The Commission has taken action to address this with the already adopted back-loading measure. But as this is only a temporary measure, the Commission has proposed to establish a market stability reserve. Now it is up to the European Parliament and the Council to take it forward and move ahead swiftly in their discussions. " 

Adapted from press release by

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