2015 ETS Emissions Analysis

Total emissions are 11mt down, or 0.6%, from 1813mt to 1802mt

Dave Jones

Head of Data Insights


28 April 2016 | < 1 min read


Our analysis found total emissions fell 0.6% in 2015. Similarly, power and heat emissions fell 0.6%.

Executive summary

EU ETS emissions fall in 2015

This continues a long-term trend of falling emissions in the EU power sector

Total emissions are 11mt down, or 0.6%, from 1813mt to 1802mt

  • Exact levels uncertain, as 10% of emissions have not been published (mostly Polish)

Power and heat emissions fell 0.6%, from 1073mt to 1065mt

  • This fall follows a massive 8% in 2014 power sector emissions, due to a record mild year.   It is incredible that emissions in 2015 still fell as weather moved to be more “normal”.
  • This underlines the large long-term  trend of falling emissions in the European power sector as renewable electricity displaces fossil.
  • UK coal power emissions saw a huge fall of 23%, whilst UK gas power also fell.
  • German lignite power emissions fell slightly slower than overall EUETS emissions, and are still responsible for 9.0% of all EUETS emissions.
  • Netherlands power emissions increased  by 11% as new coal plants came online.  However, emissions should fall again as older coal plants are decommissioned in 2016 and 2017.
  • A dry region in Spain and Portugal significantly increased coal power emissions there; whilst a wet Nordic region led to lower coal generation in Denmark and Finland.

Industrial emissions fell 0.3% from 740mt to 738mt

  • Emissions have fallen only very marginally.
  • UK steel emissions fell 18%.  Excluding this fall, total European industrial emissions were the same in 2015 as in 2014.

Emissions are 10% below the Emissions Trading Scheme cap for 2015. This is great news for the climate, and shows how easily the EU can increase its ambition in tackling climate change, but this enormous structural oversupply means the ETS cannot drive emission reductions in a cost-effective way. The carbon market needs a complete overhaul to raise prices, not tinkering.

Dave Jones Power Analyst, Sandbag