Emissions trading: CO2 emissions in 2012 slightly higher than 2011

Data reveals further savings potential in emissions trading

The CO2 emissions of the 1,627 energy and industrial installations in Germany that are subject to compulsory emissions trading were somewhat higher in 2012 than the previous year. The total volume is 452.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, compared to 450.3 million tonnes in 2011. There was a notable difference between coal and natural gas. Whereas the energy sector's carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of brown coal and lignite rose (by 4 per cent each), emissions from natural gas combustion dropped significantly by 8 per cent. Because natural gas is more climate-friendly than coal, increased use of natural gas power plants holds great potential to avoid CO2 emissions. Emissions from energy-intensive industrial installations would decline by about 3 per cent.

The total CO2 emissions volume of 452.4 million tonnes once again reached the annual emissions cap for Germany in the second trading period. The cap is 451.8 million tonnes. "Emissions figures for 2012 are both good and bad news: Germany almost complied with the cap – thanks also to the lower number of energy-intensive industrial installations– but great savings potential remains untapped. This shows that emissions trading can achieve more, but its impact must be strengthened. It is the only way to create incentives to use climate-friendly power plants and invest in new technologies", said Jochen Flasbarth, President of the Federal Environment Agency.

"The present competitive disadvantage of highly efficient natural gas power plants against the more economic electric power generation from coal is plain to see in the CO2 emissions of 2012. As we pursue ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets up to 2050 we will have to turn to efficient natural gas power plants. It would be a grave mistake to crowd them out because of the current market situation and would increase the costs of reducing CO2 emissions considerably in the medium term", says Flasbarth.

In autumn 2012 the European Commission proposed the withdrawal of 900 million emissions certificates from the market in order to boost emissions trading as a climate protection instrument. The European Parliament's Environment Committee approved the Commission proposal on 19 February 2013. The final decision lies with the EU Council and Parliament.

Installation operators have until 30 April 2013 to surrender the necessary number of certificates to offset their actual emissions. DEHSt is currently reviewing emissions reports from 2012 and plans to complete its detailed evaluation and publication of results by 15 May 2013.

The German Emissions Trading Authority (DEHSt)

The German Emissions Trading Authority at the Federal Environment Agency is the national authority entrusted with the implementation of emissions trading for stationary installations and for the aviation industry. Its mandate includes management of the allocation and issuance of emission allowances, revision of emissions reports and operation of the EU emissions trading registry. It manages auctioning and advises the public and market participants of results of the auctions. It is also in charge of the administration of the project-based mechanisms Joint Implementation and Clean Development Mechanism.

Umweltbundesamt Hauptsitz

Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau

Printer-friendly version
 Emission Trading  emission trading registry  German Emissions Trading Authority