Sharp drop in Greenhouse Gas emissions in 2011 for 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, EPA said,

“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 & 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.

Details of the verified emissions of greenhouse gas emissions in 2011 are available on the External linkEU’s website (lines 8200-8324).
Ireland’s National Allocation Plan for Emissions Trading 2008-2012 can be downloaded from the EPA website.

Editor’s Note

Emissions Trading Scheme Verified Emissions 2005-2011: For comparative purposes Ireland’s verified ETS emissions since 2005 were as follows (keep in mind that from year to year the scope of the scheme can change somewhat as some installations close and new ones open):

Table 1: Verified Greenhouse Gas Emissions
(Mtonnes CO2)

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Emissions 22.43 21.7 21.25 20.38 17.22 17.36 15.77

National Allocation Plan: The National Allocation Plan details how carbon allowances in the emissions trading sector will be distributed between participating activities in the five-year period 2008-2012. The EU Emissions Trading Scheme is designed to assist Member States achieve their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol in the period 2008-2012.

Emissions Trading: Emissions Trading is a cap and trade scheme where participating installations are given a fixed allocation each year and must either abate CO2 emissions to that level or purchase allowances to meet any exceedance. It is designed to bring about reductions in emissions at least cost, and is seen to play an increasingly important role in assisting European industry implement the type of reductions envisaged in the EU Commission’s limit of at least an overall 20% reduction of GHG emissions in the EU by 2020.

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