Shifting From Gas to Coal Without Influence on CO2 Emissions Under ETS

Alex Trembath just tweeted this:

EU CO₂ emissions ↑ 10% ytd in 2012, according to @BloombergNEF. Anyone got data on this?

There is no need to look at any data to answer that question.

Even if there was a large increase in the use of coal for generating electricity, coal plants are in the part of EU emissions under the ETS (Emission Trade System).

That means that if more coal is used for power generation, somewhere in the system there will be used less fossil fuel to balance that out. There is no way that a short term spike in coal generation could lead to *any* increase of CO2 emissions.

That said, of course all things equal using less coal for electricity generation is a necessary goal, and if it can’t be achieved, the number of permits under ETS will be reduced more slowly.

But again, there is no way that number could be correct. It might make sense if the article stated “CO2 emissions from use of coal in coal plants are up 10%”.

And, since Trembath asked for a reliable source of data, here is a link to the latest reports of the European Environment Agency from October 24th, which show that the EU is well on track to achieve both their Kyoto targets this year and the target of 20% reduction relative to 1990 until 2020.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003,

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