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18 Jun 2021, 12:57
Edgar Meza

German ETS emissions down 33 percent since 2013, partly due to pandemic

Clean Energy Wire

The industrial lull caused by the pandemic largely contributed to a 12 percent decrease in CO₂ emissions from power and industry units in Germany last year, according to a new report issued by the German Emissions Trading Authority (DEHSt). The 1,817 stationary units under the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) emitted around 320 million tonnes of CO₂ equivalents, 12 percent less than in 2019 and a decrease of 33 percent compared to 2013. The emissions decline is largely due to reductions in the energy industry and to a decrease in energy-intensive industry, where activity has slowed as a result of the economic situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the DEHSt, a division of the German Environment Agency (UBA). Emissions from power plants fell by some 15 percent last year compared to 2019, while those from energy-intensive industry declined by 5 percent, with the largest drop, 12 percent, seen in the iron and steel sector. The reduction, however, is temporary. “In this particular year, the pandemic effect is noticeable and, especially in the area of ​​industrial plants, the decline in emissions is unlikely to be sustainable,” said UBA president Dirk Messner. As in recent years, the relative decline in emissions in the emissions trading sector is significantly more pronounced than the decline in total national emissions, he added.

With the EU ETS, the European Union has created a market mechanism that determines a price for CO2 emissions and creates incentives to reduce emissions in the most cost-effective manner. It is about to be reformed to be in line with higher climate targets decided by the EU. The European Commission will present its reform proposal on 14 July.

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