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EU Carbon Emissions Declined 1.4% in 2012, Initial Data Show

Carbon emissions fell 1.4 percent in Europe last year, according to European Commission data, as industrial output slowed and renewable energy generation jumped.

Greenhouse-gas discharges reported by 89 percent of the installations covered by the European Union’s carbon market were 1.787 billion metric tons, excluding airlines, the data published today show. Aviation emissions totaled 55 million tons in 2012, the first year of coverage for the industry, according to figures accounting for 68 percent of the sector.

Emissions fell as electricity output from renewable energy installations including windfarms surged 13 percent, offsetting the impact of a decline in nuclear power and rising coal-fired generation, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Europe’s sputtering economy prompted a 7.4 percent drop in emissions for the cement industry and a 3.3 percent decline for steel companies, it said.

The data shows the EU market may continue to be oversupplied with carbon permits, and “reinforces the need for reform,” Matthew Gray, an analyst at Jefferies Group Inc. in London, said in a phone interview.

Emissions in 2013 may be 190 million tons below the cap set for this year, Gray said. Companies emitted 170 million tons less than was allocated last year based on today’s data, according to New Energy estimates.

Emission permits for December pared early losses to trade at 4.69 euros ($6) a ton as of 1:40 p.m. on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange, a decline of 2.5 percent.

Europe’s parliament votes April 16 on the first part of plan by the region’s regulator to support prices by postponing the sale of some allowances.

The EU’s cap-and-trade system, introduced in 2005 to help meet greenhouse gas-reduction targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, imposes limits on about 12,000 power plants and factories. The program allocates permits to polluters that must must surrender enough allowances to cover their discharges of carbon dioxide or pay fines.

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