Lower emissions in the wake of the recession

The total emissions of carbon dioxide from Swedish industries and energy companies that are encompassed by the EU's Emissions Trading System was lower in 2009 than during all the preceding years since the trading began in 2005 . Data for emissions in 2009 show that the explanation for the low emissions lies primarily in the recession.

Sweden's carbon dioxide emissions within traded sectors were a total of 17.5 million tons in 2009. This is 2.62 million tons lower in comparison with the emissions in 2008. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency's data for the emissions show that the lower emissions in 2009 are to a large extent explained by the recession, which led to reduced demand and a fall in production in many sectors.

Most industries had lower emissions in 2009 in comparison with previous years. The largest change in emissions was found in the iron and steel category, where emissions in 2009 were 3.98 million tons, a total of 2.64 million tons lower in comparison with 2008.

Only the electricity and district heating sectors had emissions in 2009 that were markedly higher than for 2008. An increase in demand, including due to low winter temperatures, is what caused production increases here.


The EU's Emissions Trading System involves a limiting of emissions from plants in the energy and industrial sectors and encompasses approx. 50 percent of the European Union's total carbon dioxide emissions. The total allocation within the EU constitutes a ceiling for emissions that individual companies can adapt their emissions and production to. The emissions of an individual plant can increase, for example to accommodate production increases, if the company acquires the emissions rights on the market. This equates to a corresponding reduction in emissions for another company within the system. Trading in emissions rights will make it possible to reach a cost-effective reduction in emissions since measures can be implemented via the trading at those plants where it costs the least to reduce the emissions.

The sectors in which there is trading must, under the common umbrella of the EU, reduce emissions by 21 percent up to the year 2020 in comparison with 2005.