London — Carbon dioxide emissions under the EU Emissions Trading System fell 3.9% in 2018, the European Commission said Wednesday, driven by clean energy displacing fossil fuel-fired electricity, confirming indications from partial data released April 1.
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The overall reduction was based on a combination of a 4.1% decrease in emissions from stationary installations and a 3.9% increase from aviation, the EC said in a statement.
"The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions registered in 2018 took place in the context of a growing EU economy (EU 28 GDP growth of 2% in 2018)," the EC said.
"The biggest reduction was achieved in the power sector, reflecting the ongoing decarbonisation where coal and gas-fired power production has been replaced by electricity from renewables."
CO2 emissions from industry -- excluding the power sector -- fell by a more modest 0.7% in 2018, it said.
Emissions from stationary installations fell to 1.682 billion mt of CO2 equivalent, the EC said.
The EC's figures confirm an S&P Global Platts analysis of partial data released by the EC April 1, which indicated an overall drop of 4% in 2018 from the previous year.
The EU ETS covers more than 11,000 power plants and manufacturing installations in the 28 EU member states and three non-EU countries, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Compliance with the EU ETS obligations was high, with 99% of calendar 2018 emissions covered by allowances, the EC said.
AVIATION EMISSIONS CONTINUE TO RISE
However, in the aviation sector in Europe, emissions continued to rise in 2018, increasing by 3.9% to 66.9 million mt, from 64.4 million mt in 2017, the EC said.
"These emissions were covered in proportion of 53% by allowances acquired from other sectors, mainly contributing to reductions in the power sector. Aircraft operators received free allowances totalling 30.5 million tonnes, covering 45.5% of their emissions," it said.
By 2020, global international aviation emissions are projected to be around 70% higher than in 2005 and the International Civil Aviation Organization forecasts that by 2050 they could grow by a further 300-700%, according to the EC.
The EU ETS covers only intra-EU flights, which includes flights from some non-European airlines operating routes within Europe.
Overall, the latest figures show a continued trend of greenhouse gas emissions decoupling from economic growth in Europe.
Between 1990 and 2017, the EU reduced its GHG emissions by 22% while the economy grew by 58% over the same period, the EC said in October 2018.
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