EU ETS Surplus Grows Further – Including in Germany Despite the Nuclear Phaseout

The surplus of emission allowances in the EU emission trading system keeps growing. According to figures released today by the Commission and tallied by the indispensable Sandbag, the 2011 surplus was 163 million allowances. The total surplus over the current trading period 2008-2012 thus rises to 355 million allowances. The largest share goes to the energy-intensive industries, who nevertheless keep complaining that the ETS is ruining their businesses. Steel and cement account for 279 million and 195 million surplus allowances respectively. If targets are not tightened, the EU ETS will probably be oversupplied until at least 2020.

Germany is especially interesting. German GDP grew by 3% in 2011 and many had predicted that the nuclear phase out would lead to an increase in emissions. Instead, 2011 emissions were 1% below 2010 – and the reductions came in particular from the energy sector. According to a press release from the German Federal Environment Agency, emissions from large combustion installations dropped by 6% and emissions from small installations by 2%. The mild winter was certainly one factor, but still the dire predictions made by critics of the nuclear phaseout were obviously completely overblown.

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