German environment agency calls for ETS reforms as emissions reach pre-pandemic levels
Clean Energy Wire
Despite high CO2 prices, emissions from coal-fired power stations in Germany have nearly reached pre-pandemic levels, according to a report published by the German Emissions Trading Authority (DEHSt), which is part of the German Environment Agency (UBA). In 2021, carbon dioxide equivalents from some 1,730 stationary plants in Germany that are included in the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) rose 11 percent compared to 2020, reaching around 355 million tonnes – just about 8 million tonnes below pre-COVID-19 levels, according to the DEHSt.
The authority’s 2021 VET Report examines greenhouse gas emissions in Germany from power plants subject to emissions trading and from the aviation sector. It finds that the country’s economic recovery last year, following the 2020 pandemic-induced slump, was the main factor behind the rise in emissions. "The increase in emissions in 2021, the second year of the pandemic, was to be expected, but not to that extent,” UBA president Dirk Messner said. “The observable trend before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic towards a sharp reduction in emissions in German ETS plants seems to have stopped for the time being.” Resolute countermeasures must be taken to speed up the rapid move away from fossil fuels, he added. “This is all the more necessary due to the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. Ambitious climate protection also helps us reduce our energy dependence on Russia. To that end, the UBA is calling for a reform of the EU ETS, including a significant reduction in the ETS’s upper emission limits.”
The ETS plays a key role in the EU’s plans to achieve its 2030 emission reduction targets.