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According to market analysts, some UK coal-fired power plants could be switched off this year after the doubling of a carbon emissions levy.

In the UK, the carbon floor price went up from £9.54 to £18.08 per tonne of CO2, leading the cost of a tonne of carbon for British power plants to £23 when allowances on the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) are considered. The carbon floor price was introduced in 2013, and was created to encourage utilities to switch to burning natural gas or generating power from renewable sources by raising annually the cost of carbon from British power generators above the price of EU allowances; according to market experts, unless gas prices now rise substantially this policy will be enough to trigger a switch from coal to gas, with up to 20 TerraWatt hours (TWh) of coal generation being replaced by gas.

New figuresreleased by the European Commission on Wednesday, April 1 show that greenhouse gas emissions within the ETS dropped by 21% in 2014 compared to 2005 levels, allowing Europe to meet six years in advance the emissions cut goal set for 2020; what is more, this result has been achieved despite Europe’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rise of 1.3% last year.

The ETS has been established to incentivize emissions cuts by setting a cap on carbon emissions from industrial facilities and allowing companies to sell their spare allowances to more polluting enterprises; this system now covers around two-thirds of Europe’s industrial facilities, and data suggest that the all-encompassing target of a 20% cut in emissions on 1990 levels will soon be met.

Moreover, Sandbag, a campaigning organization focused on emissions trading, has forecast a 29% drop in carbon emissions by 2020 and a surplus of 2 billion allowances, which would bring Europe closer to reaching its goal of a 40% cut in CO2 emissions by 2030.

All these data prove that the emissions reduction targets Europe has set are achievable, and urge European leaders to raise the stakes ahead of the Paris climate summit in December.



The gLAWcal Team

POREEN project

Friday, 3 April 2015

(Source: Guardian)