HomeEmissions & EnvironmentWind and solar drive drop in EU greenhouse gas emissions

Wind and solar drive drop in EU greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions regulated under European Union’s carbon market stabilized last year, according to analysts at Thomson Reuters.

The company’s Point Carbon team analyzed verified emission data for 2015 published last week by the European Commission.

Emissions from energy producers and industrial manufacturers in the carbon market remained virtually unchanged in 2015, dropping by 0.4 per cent from 2014’s level.Point Carbon EU emissions data

“The trend of declining emissions that has been in place since 2011 has now slowed down nearly to a halt” explained Yan Qin, senior analyst at Thomson Reuters.

Emissions stagnated while the European economy grew 1.7 per cent in 2015, according to the analysts.

“The data attests to a relative decoupling between economic growth and emissions regulated under the carbon market” said Yan Qin.

“However, the EU still falls short of a significant absolute decoupling, which would occur if the EU could reduce emissions while growing its economy.”

Emissions in the power and heat sector dropped by 0.4 per cent despite higher power consumption.

“The carbon intensity in the power sector continued to decrease last year, thanks to a greater amount of wind and solar power generation and improved profitability for gas-fired power plants in 2015,” Qin explained.

Despite progress for wind and solar generation, fossil-fuel based generation comprised a greater share of power generation in 2015 compared to 2014, according to the analysts, partially because of drought-stricken hydropower plants in Spain and Portugal.

“The EU power system continued to rely heavily on coal and gas last year, which was the reason that kept emissions from dropping more significantly,” added Qin.