Small Increase in Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 2010 For Emissions Trading Companies

Data submitted by the EPA to the EU Commission show that emissions of greenhouse gases in 2010 for companies in Ireland covered by the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) are marginally higher than in the previous year. Greenhouse gas emissions from Irish companies participating in the ETS had declined from 22.43 Mtonnes CO2 in 2005 to 17.22 Mtonnes CO2 in 2009. The data for 2010 shows emissions have risen slightly to 17.36 Mtonnes CO2.

The very large reduction which had occurred between 2008 and 2009, reflecting the severity of the economic downturn, has been largely maintained. However, last year’s small increase in emissions is evidence of a slight increase in production output by participating companies. This may be an indicator that a turn-around in this sector of the economy has begun.

Dr Ken Macken, programme manager, comments: “While the emission reduction mainly reflects the impact of the current recession, nonetheless the necessity to undertake all possible efficiency measures is now an essential business strategy. The fact that many efficiency measures also reduce fuel use, with an associated reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, is an important benefit for this country for the future.”

As was the case for 2009, emissions have again shown an over-allocation of greenhouse gas allowances in 2010, 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, reflecting the very significant downturn in construction.

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.

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.

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