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Energy sector lowers emissions
Plants in Germany have saved 438 million metric tons - emissions trade is proving successful

Emissions of greenhouse gases have declined both in Germany and the EU. At least in the sectors to which the EU system for trading CO2 allowances applies, as confirmed by official bodies.

The German energy sector has made a very significant contribution to reducing Germany’s carbon emissions. This was confirmed by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) in early April: whereas emissions from German industry increased by 2.1 per cent due to the robust economic conditions, the energy sector was actually able to cut its emissions by 5.4 per cent.

On the whole, the roughly 1,830 stationary plants in Germany which are subject to the EU-wide upper limit of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) reduced their emissions by the equivalent of around 438 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2017. This represents a decline of 3.4 per cent compared to the previous year, according to the UBA.

The UBA noted, however, that the sectors to which the EU ETS applies only accounted for about 50 per cent of Germany’s total estimated greenhouse gas emissions in 2017. By contrast, an increase was registered in the CO2 emissions of the other branches of industry in 2017. Thanks to the energy sector’s significant progress made with a view to achieving the climate targets, Germany’s emissions balance was also slightly positive on the whole, according to the UBA.

EU Commission: ETS is functioning

Brussels also confirmed that the ETS is fulfilling its purpose. Once every year, the EU Commission releases its ‘Report on the functioning of the European carbon market’. In this report, the Commission mainly provides an update on the EU ETS and the reduction of CO2 emissions that achieved in the energy sector and energy-intensive industries to which the EU ETS applies.

The latest report was released at the end of November 2017. A couple of its key findings were:

  • The ETS contributes significantly to the achievement of the CO2 reduction targets.
  • Thanks to the EU ETS, emissions from electricity production have been declining for many years, falling by more than 17 per cent in the last five years.
  • The number of surplus allowances in the market has now declined to 1.7 billion.

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