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EU ETS Emissions Fall, Allowance Surplus Grows in 2013

European Union 14 May 2014: Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions capped under the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) fell by an estimated 3% in 2013, to slightly under 1.9 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), according to the European Commission. During the same period, the cumulative surplus in emission allowances grew to over 2.1 billion tons CO2e, from 2.0 billions tons CO2e at the end of 2012.

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, welcomed the fall in emissions but cautioned that the growing surplus of emission allowances "risks undermining the orderly functioning of the carbon market.” She added that the Commission has enacted a back-loading measure to address the surplus over the short-term, but emphasized the need for the European Parliament and Council of the EU to move forward on a legislative proposal for a market stability reserve, which the Commission proposed in January of this year. Such a reserve would commence at the beginning of the next ETS trading period in 2021, and be designed to cope with the growing allowance surplus and improve the resilience of the trading system to major shocks.

The emission figures reported by the European Commission come from the EU ETS registry, which the Commission operates. The figures take into account additional emission sources and other changes introduced under the third phase of the EU ETS, running from 2013-2020.

Emissions and compliance data for the more than 12,000 power plants and manufacturing installations covered under the EU ETS are publicly available on the EU Transaction Log (EUTL), which has replaced the Community Independent Transaction Log (CITL). [EC Press Release on 2013 Emissions] [EC Press Release on Market Stability Mechanism] [EUTL Website]