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ETS. Emissions Decline, Allowances Increase

Emissions of greenhouse gases from stationary installations participating in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) decreased by 2% last year to 1.867 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent, according to the information recorded in the Union Registry.

First year of emissions responsibility for aircraft operators


Verified 2012 emissions reported by airlines amount to almost 84 million tonnes.

Aircraft operators responsible for over 98% of the 2012 aviation emissions covered by the EU ETS have successfully taken the necessary steps to date to comply with the EU ETS legislation. In accordance with the provisions of the ‘stop the clock’ Decision, aircraft operators may limit their responsibility for 2012 to flights within Europe only, in which case they may also take a further step by 27 May to return free allocations for flights outside Europe.

All cases of non-compliance will be examined by the competent authorities of the responsible Member States in accordance with established procedures.

Allowance surplus doubled in 2012

The surplus of emission allowances almost doubled from around 950 million at the end of 2011. A combination of the use of international credits, auctioned phase 2 allowances and remaining allowances in the new entrant reserve, sales of phase 3 allowances to generate funds for the NER300 programme and early auctioning of phase 3 allowances resulted in a cumulative surplus of almost two billion allowances by the end of 2012.

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, said: “The good news is that emissions declined again in 2012. The bad news is that the supply-demand imbalance has further worsened in large part due to a record use of international credits. At the start of phase 3, we see a surplus of almost two billion allowances. These facts underline the need for the European Parliament and Council to act swiftly on back-loading.”

High level of compliance from installations

Companies’ level of compliance with the EU ETS rules was again high. Less than 1% of the participating installations did not surrender allowances covering all their 2012 emissions by the deadline of 30 April 2013. These installations are typically small and together account for less than 1% of emissions covered by the EU ETS.

The EU ETS covers more than 12 000 power plants and manufacturing installations in the 27 EU member states, Norway and Liechtenstein. From 2012 it also covers emissions from airlines flying between airports in these countries and to closely connected areas.

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