EU says emissions down, but pollution scheme falters

May 16, 2013
EU greenhouse gas emissions, blamed for global warming, dropped slightly last year but the much-vaunted system for cutting such pollution ran into even more trouble, the European Commission said on Thursday.

EU greenhouse gas emissions, blamed for global warming, dropped slightly last year but the much-vaunted system for cutting such pollution ran into even more trouble, the European Commission said on Thursday.

It said that total carbon dioxide output from industrial installations covered by the EU's System (ETS) was down 2.0 percent in 2012, reflecting the .

At the same time, a massive surplus of ETS pollution credits was building up, depressing prices.

With companies able to buy the credits so cheaply to cover their emissions, they have even less incentive to make the investment in upgraded technology to reduce their pollution, as intended by the ETS.

"The good news is that emissions declined again in 2012," EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said in a statement.

"The bad news is that the supply-demand imbalance has further worsened," Hedegaard said, urging EU leaders and lawmakers to back a Commission plan to freeze credits for 900 million tonnes of CO2 in an effort to boost the price.

Last month, the European Parliament narrowly voted down the planned freeze, sending pollution credit prices tumbling even more to the point where some analysts said the ETS risked collapsing.

Hedegaard said the ETS began its third phase, 2013-20, with a pollution credit surplus of nearly 2.0 billion tonnes of CO2.

"These facts underline the need for the and (EU leaders) to act swiftly" on the freeze proposal, she added.

The ETS covers more than 12,000 power plants and manufacturing installations in the 27 EU member states, Norway and Liechtenstein, according to the Commission.

It also includes, in a controversial move disputed by non-EU airlines flying into the bloc, since 2012.

The ETS is a key part of EU efforts to reduce its by some 20 percent by 2020, compared with 2005 levels.

Explore further: EU lawmakers to vote on reform of 'polluter pays'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EU lawmakers to vote on reform of 'polluter pays'

May 07, 2013

EU lawmakers will vote again on controversial plans to make polluters pay more for the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming, after narrowly rejecting the proposal last month, a top MEP said ...

EU states urge lawmakers to back pollution credit plans

Apr 12, 2013

Six EU states, including powerhouse Germany, called on European lawmakers Friday to back efforts to revive a faltering market in pollution credits so as to bolster the bloc's fight against global warming.

Euro MPs back plans to freeze pollution credits

Feb 19, 2013

The European Parliament's environment committee on Tuesday backed efforts to make investment in clean technology financially more attractive by freezing about 900 million tonnes of pollution credits available ...

Recommended for you

New research on Earth's carbon budget

8 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Results from a research project involving scientists from the Desert Research Institute have generated new findings surrounding some of the unknowns of changes in climate and the degree to which ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...