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A warm winter and a move towards more efficient power production were the two factors highlighted in the story to explain the substantial drop in CO2 emissions in Europe. This was offset by reduced nuclear and hydro output.

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Emissions from EU power utilities dropped by a record 2.9 percent last year, even as Germany shut nuclear power stations, according to the data.
Power emissions decreased by 32 million tons to 1.1 billion tons as utilities used more-efficient plants, Cowie said.
“With power demand down 4 percent from 2010 to 2011, the emissions intensity of power rose slightly overall, but this was mostly as a result of a drop in nuclear and hydro power production,” he said. Emissions intensity is a measure of the carbon-dioxide produced for each unit of electricity.
For fossil-fuel power generation in isolation, “the emissions intensity actually dropped by 0.74 percent, as more efficient coal-and-gas power stations replaced the output from older plants,” Cowie said.

German power emissions dropped 1.9 percent, according to the data. In March last year, the nation shut its nuclear plants after a tsunami measuring more than 15 meters (49 feet) high overwhelmed a facility at Fukushima, Japan, causing a meltdown there.
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