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EU’s Emissions Fall, Renewables Soar

Carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and industrial sites in the European Union fell a record amount in 2023, POLITICO reports.

What’s going on: “In a statement late Wednesday, the European Commission called the 15.5 percent decline in emissions covered by the bloc’s carbon market—also known as the Emissions Trading System (ETS)—a ‘record’ reduction. The 2023 drop was even steeper than in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic drove ETS emissions down 13.3 percent.”

  • Preliminary data for last year shows that ETS emissions are now on track to reach the EU target of 62% below 2005 levels.
  • The ETS, which “charges a price for licenses” to emit greenhouse gases, regulated approximately 45% of the EU’s total GHG emissions in 2023.

Why it happened: The decline was due largely to an increase in wind and solar power, according to the commission, though weaker economies also played a role in lowering demand for electricity.  

  • Still, the data likely point to an emerging trend, said the manager for European carbon analysis at energy market intelligence firm Veyt. “The buildout of renewable capacity [is] … structural and likely to persist.”
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