Carbon emissions from industry and aviation fall 10 per cent in a year

Carbon emissions from major industry and aviation in Belgium fell by more than 10 per cent last year, the biggest drop since the financial crisis, De Tijd reports on Friday, primarily due to the malaise in industry.

Belgium’s large, energy-intensive companies emitted 4.26 million tonnes less greenhouse gases last year than the year before. The figure is measured in CO2 equivalent, which converts the impact of total greenhouse gases into the impact in carbon dioxide. At European level, the drop was even greater, at 15.5 per cent.

The figures refer to companies within the European Emissions Trading Scheme: major cement and steel producers, chemical plants, refineries, power plants and airlines operating intra-European flights. Under the scheme, they buy allowances and must swap one allowance for every tonne of emissions they emit.

Record low

More than 280 industrial plants and power stations in Belgium are covered by the scheme. Alongside intra-European flights, they account for 40 per cent of all CO2 emissions.

High energy prices and weak demand have caused many industrial companies to scale down production, De Tijd reports. There has been a particular drop in used production capacity in the chemical sector, which has fallen to a record low and fluctuated between 65 and 73 per cent over the whole of 2023, according to figures from industry federation essenscia.

There have also been improvements in energy efficiency. While production in the chemicals, plastics and pharmaceuticals sectors has increased 77 per cent since 2004, greenhouse gas emissions have remained stable. Finally, two major industrial plants were down for maintenance work last year, the Flemish Energy and Climate Agency indicates.


The Heidelberg Materials cement plant in Antoing, Hainaut, February 2024 © BELGA PHOTO BENOIT DOPPAGNE

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