EU’s power sector emissions have steep drop as renewables surge

By Zia Weise | 04/04/2024 06:46 AM EDT

Brussels called the 15.5 percent reduction in 2023 a “record.”

Wind turbines spin over a solar park near Klettwitz, Germany.

The 24 percent drop in power sector emissions was largely driven by the increase in wind and solar electricity, the European Commission said. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

BRUSSELS — The European Union saw carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and industrial sites drop a record 15.5 percent last year, the bloc’s executive said.

The main reason: Soaring renewable energy output caused fossil fuel-produced electricity to drop steeply in 2023, with power sector pollution falling 24 percent compared to 2022.

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, followed by a 7.3 percent rebound in 2021. In 2022, emissions declined by less than 2 percent.