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19 Oct 2021, 13:46
Benjamin Wehrmann

Government projection report confirms Germany clearly off-track from 2030 climate target

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s emissions reduction efforts will not be sufficient for achieving the country’s climate targets, the government’s 2021 Projection Report has found. The report, compiled by the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut), confirmed an earlier draft released in August, which predicted that emissions in Germany would fall by 49 percent by 2030 and by 67 percent by 2040 compared to 1990 levels. The climate targets stipulate a reduction of 65 percent and 88 percent, respectively. “Germany would thus miss its climate targets in the next two decades if no additional measures are taken,” the Öko-Institut concluded. The report took all measures into consideration that had been taken until the end of August 2020. The energy sector would contribute the largest emissions reduction in the next years, the institute said, thanks to the phase-out of coal power, more renewable energy installations and rising carbon prices in the European trading system ETS. Greenhouse gas emissions in the sector are projected to fall to 193 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent by the end of the decade and 75 million tonnes by 2040, thereby exceeding the sectoral target. More efficient buildings and the shift to electric cars would further contribute to emissions reduction, albeit at a much lower scale. Building sector emissions reduction would fall short by about 11 percentage points by 2030 (57% reduction of 68%) and transport emissions reduction even by 25 percentage points (23% instead of 48%). Industry emissions are expected to fall by 45 percent instead of 58 percent by 2030. “The report clearly shows that the existing instruments have to be developed further and new ones introduced as well,” said Ralph Harthan, researcher at the Öko-Institut. Germany’s environment ministry (BMU) had said the 2021 projection report’s conclusiveness would be very “limited,” as many additional measures had been taken in the meantime.

The projection report is likely to feed into the coalition negotiations of the Social Democrats (SPD), the Green Party and the Free Democrats (FDP), who plan to start formal talks on forming a so-called “traffic light coalition” in the coming days. While the report included measures taken in Germany’s 2030 Climate Action Programme and in the coronavirus recovery package, it did not factor in a landmark ruling by the country’s constitutional court in 2021 that the government must set binding emissions reduction targets. It also largely omitted the fast rise in ETS prices in recent months, although the institute added that the target will remain out of reach even at much higher emissions allowance prices.

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