Uptick in industrial activity drives emissions growth across the trading bloc
Greenhouse gas emissions regulated by the EU's Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) have risen for the first time in seven years, according to new data published yesterday by the Point Carbon team at Thomson Reuters.
Solid economic growth across the trading bloc last year drove a 0.7 per cent uptick in emissions recorded under the ETS, Point Carbon said.
"EU ETS emissions increased for the first time in seven years," explained Ingvild Sørhus, lead carbon analyst at Thomson Reuters. "The European economy grew 2.5 per cent last year. Solid growth in the European economy resulted in increased activity leading to higher emissions."
Much of the emissions growth was driven by industrial manufacturers, particularly in the cement sector, which saw emissions jump 1.8 per cent to 799 million tonnes last year.
However, it was the aviation sector which posted the most startling jump in emissions, reporting a 13 per cent rise to 70 million tonnes in 2017. The EU ETS covers flights which take off and land at European airports.
Meanwhile emissions from the heat and power sector came in at 957 million tonnes, down one per cent on last year thanks to falling coal use and the rollout of renewable generation.
"European power sector emissions remains on a downward trend as renewable generation grows and European countries continue to phase out coal," confirmed Yan Qin, senior modelling analyst at Thomson Reuters. "Last year's nuclear outages in France and drought in Southern Europe increased demand for fossil fuel plants to run, otherwise power emissions could have dropped by another 20 million tonnes in line with this trend."
However, the overall results will fuel concerns EU decarbonisation efforts are struggling to deliver on the goals the bloc agreed to under the Paris Agreement.
The latest update comes just days after a sobering report from the IEA revealed that global energy-related emissions also rose last year, bringing to an end a three year period when global emissions remained flat.
Brussels is currently considering a series of new targets designed to accelerate emission reduction efforts through to 2030 and the news industrial emissions are rising across the bloc is likely to provide further ammunition to campaigners who want to see member states adopt more ambitious goals.
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