German emission trend 1990-2014 and emission reduction targets, with BMUB projection. Data: UBA, 2015. Graphic: Clean Energy Wire

[To my eyechrometer, it looks like progress halted in 2009. It’s possible that this curve has bottomed out, and Germany can’t reduce carbon emissions further without restarting its nuclear plants. –Des]

21 May 2015 (Carbon Counter) – Some of us are slow learners. In 2011, Germany made the decision to shut 8 nuclear reactors and to close three more by 2020. The obvious consequence of this would be that Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions would be higher than they otherwise would have been. This is simple arithmetic, yet it was denied at the time, and still is, by many (most?) people within the environmental movement. But now many in the environmental movement have suddenly noticed that Germany is not moving away from coal, and this is making their 2020 targets more or less impossible to meet. Naturally, dots remain unconnected, and Germany’s inability to move away from coal is not recognised to be the result of policies lauded by most environmentalists. A new form of denialism. But how much do Germany’s emissions need to fall? The official target is for greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 to be 40% below 1990 levels. Germany has officially published GHG emissions figures for all years until 2014, and this is what it looks like.

Right now, German emits the equivalent of 912 million tonnes of CO2. This target covers everything from burning natural gas to heat homes to the emissions from changing land use. It is mostly CO2, but includes some other greenhouse gases such as methane. The total reduction needed in the next 6 years is 160 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Now. Look closely at the graph above, and you might see a problem. Germany has never reduced its emissions by this much in a 6 year period. In fact, the only time it can remotely close was in the early 1990s, and those cuts were mostly because of the closure of polluting east German industries after the Berlin Wall fell. [more]

Germany’s 2020 greenhouse gas target is no longer feasible


By Kerstine Appunn
9 May 2015

(Clean Energy Wire) – In 2014, the share of renewable sources in German domestic power consumption rose to an all-time high of 27.8 percent, according to the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Renewables also accounted for 26.2 percent of gross electricity production.

To put this into context: in the UK renewables accounted for 16.1 percent of power production, compared to 13.7 percent in the United States, 17.5 percent in France and 53.2 percent in Sweden(2013 figures). 

In 2014 Germany had a 11.1 percent share of renewables in primary energy consumption (For a comparison of the 28 EU countries in 2012 see Figure 1).

While this puts Germany ahead of many other industrialised nations (note that the share of hydropower in the German energy mix is comparatively low, with most renewable power coming from wind, solar and biomass), Germany has been struggling to keep its greenhouse gas emissions in check.

In 2007, the German government set greenhouse gas reduction targets of 40 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels, in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s recommendation for industrialised nations outlined in its Fourth Assessment Report. Germany has so far (2014) achieved a reduction of 27 percent on 1990 CO2 emission levels. By 2008, along with the other 14 EU member states at the time, it had more than fulfilled its greenhouse gas reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

Between 1990 and 2014, most major German sources of emissions achieved CO2 reductions (See Figure 2). In the energy industry sector, which is responsible for the largest share of Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions (around 40 percent), emissions fell by 24 percent between 1990 and 2014. Even bigger reductions were achieved by households (32.9 percent) and industry (33.8 percent), while the transport sector only reduced its emissions by 0.2 percent.

Two consecutive rises in emissions in 2012 and 2013 left Germany with the challenge of curbing emissions by another 20 percent over the next six years – or an average of 3.3 percent annually. Experts interpreted a drop in emissions in 2014 as a sign that the country was back on track, but critics pointed out that a significant part of last year’s CO2 saving can be attributed to warm winter weather. [more]

Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets

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