Greenhouse Gas Emissions Drop Sharply in 2011 From Ireland's Emissions Trading Companies

Data submitted by the EPA to the EU Commission show that emissions of Greenhouse Gases in 2011 for companies in Ireland covered by the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) are considerably lower than in 2010. The data for 2011 shows emissions have dropped sharply to 15.77 Mtonnes from 17.36 Mtonnes in 2010.

The reduction is largely due to a decline in emissions from the cement industry (a decrease of 12 per cent) and from the power generation sector (a decrease of 11 per cent). A slight increase (1 per cent) was noted in the emissions from companies in the food and drink sector, reflecting the current strength of this sector.

Dr Maria Martin of the EPA comments: “The emission reduction reflects both the impact of the current recession in terms of reduced energy and cement demand, and the increased availability of wind generation on the grid. Continued development of both the renewable energy sector and energy efficiency policies is crucial to further reducing power generation emissions. The decarbonisation of the energy sector is essential to assist Ireland in meeting future Greenhouse Gas emissions obligations and moving us to a more sustainable low carbon economy.”

Over 100 major industrial and institutional sites in Ireland are covered by the Emissions Trading Scheme. These include power generation, other combustion, cement, lime, glass and ceramic plants and oil refining. Also included are large companies in areas such as food and drink, pharmaceuticals and semi-conductors.

As was the case for 2010, emissions have again shown an over-allocation of Greenhouse Gas allowances in 2011, under the National Allocation Plan, as compared to the earlier years where there was an under-allocation to participating companies. The major reductions in emissions (and the associated over-allocation) are in the cement sector and the power generation sector, reflecting the very significant downturn in the economy.

The magnitude of the recession was not anticipated when allowance allocations to companies in the ETS were decided in 2006 and 2007. While the resulting over-allocation of allowances to any companies is not desirable, it should be noted that the current Allocation Plan covers a five year period and the overall outcome will not be clear until the end of 2012.

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