Emissions covered by the EU ETS increased by just 4 million tonnes or 0.2% to 1.87 billion tonnes in 2015, according to forecasts by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
A 3.6% rise in heating emissions and a 4.5% jump in CO2 from oil refineries accounted for most of the small overall increase, which came despite 18% growth in renewable power generation excluding hydropower across the 28-nation bloc, BNEF said.
History has shown that a marginal change such as this is unlikely to have a material impact on EU Allowances prices, which are down nearly 40% for the year-to-date.
Electricity, the scheme’s largest emitting sector, saw emissions slip by 0.4% to 1.057 billion tonnes, BNEF estimated, while industrial CO2 output was little changed at 571 million tonnes.
“Overall, industrial emissions stayed at the same level as 2014, [but] this masks significant changes between sectors … [as] refiners saw large output and emissions increases whilst the struggling European metals sector recorded the largest decrease [at 2.9%],” said Jahn Olsen, power and carbon analyst at BNEF.
Refinery output has risen in parallel to the industry’s operating margins, which have plumped on the back of falling crude oil prices.
Meanwhile, BNEF estimated that emissions from ceramics, paper and glass increased by 0.5%, and those from cement production grew 0.4%.
The analysts said that at an estimated 34.7%, Portugal is forecast to have seen the biggest year-on-year increase in power sector emissions of any EU member state, while Greece and Estonia likely notched that largest declines of 12% and 18% respectively.
BNEF said the EU ETS’ allowance surplus shrank by 6.8% to 1.939 billion tonnes last year after emitters were net short 139 million tonnes – more than double the deficit recorded in 2014.
Meanwhile, aviation emissions are estimated to have grown 1.1% in 2015 to 55.5 million tonnes.
By Alessandro Vitelli – firstname.lastname@example.org