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Fall in greenhouse gas emissions in EU ETS industries with the notable exception of Ireland

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Greenhouse gas emissions from EU industries participating in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETSi) fell 11.6% last year compared to 2008, according to information provided by Member States. This drop in emissions is in line with widely held expectations, given reduced economic activity caused by the recession.

The data, recently published by the European Commission, also shows that only a small percentage – 4% - of carbon allowances submitted by European companies in 2009 under the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) were generated through the Kyoto Protocol’s flexible mechanisms: the Clean Development Mechanism (CDMi) and Joint Implementation (JI). Furthermore, EU companies have only used about 12% of the 1.4 billion Kyoto credits available to them during the EU ETS’ second trading phase. The second trading period of the EU ETS began on 1 January 2008 and runs for five years until 31 December 2012. This is because lower emissions have enabled industry to meet their emission caps relatively easily. Only a few industrial installations covered by the ETS failed to surrender enough carbon allowances to cover their 2009 emissions by the 1 May deadline.

In fact every single EU country reported a decline in emissions last year compared to 2008, according to Commission figures. Biggest reductions were recorded in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

Nevertheless, the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned that Ireland could fall short of its greenhouse gas emission reduction target for 2020 under the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). The EPA says that the country’s non-ETS sectors are scheduled to emit 7.5% more CO2 per year than it should by 2020, despite the economic crisis. Ireland nonetheless plans to comply with its Kyoto target for 2012 by using leftover carbon allowances in the ETS’s new entrants reserve, rather than buying more Kyoto credits.

The Irish EPA Report can be found here: