German emissions fall 9% in first half of 2023 – think tank
Clean Energy Wire
Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions fell nine percent in the first half of the year as a weakening economy deflated energy use, according to an analysis by climate and energy think tank Agora Energiewende. Total emissions amounted to 340 million tonnes CO2 equivalents, compared to 374 million tonnes in the same period last year, Agora estimated. Yet, director Simon Müller said the reduction was no cause for celebration as it wasn’t caused by the necessary structural change. “The expansion of wind energy is still proceeding far too slowly, and the new legislation on home heating systems is not sufficient to achieve climate targets in the building sector.” High energy prices led to a 13-percent drop in energy-intensive industrial output, as many companies cheaper long-term energy supply contracts ran out. The think tank said that a rapid introduction of industry power price subsidies was needed to secure companies’ competitiveness because it “provides the necessary time to implement clever industrial policy for the transition [to greenhouse gas neutrality].”
Renewables’ share in the country’s power mix rose to 55 percent from January to June, a record for a first half year, Agora said. However, the analysts noted that the roll-out of wind power remained well below Germany’s target path, while solar installations stayed on track. In the first half of 2023, Germany achieved 61 percent of its whole-year target for solar, but only 24 percent of its wind target. The think tank said the government must urgently simplify licensing procedures, including transport permits. Agora noted that while heat pumps and district heating systems supply warmth to over 80 percent of new buildings, reducing emissions in the building sector requires renovating the stock of existing buildings. The think tank called on the government to clarify future subsidies to give investment security to consumers and companies that need to ramp up heat pump production.
Energy market researchers of the AG Energiebilanzen (AGEB) recently estimated that energy-related CO2 emissions fell by more than eight percent in the first half of 2023 as energy use decreased by a “considerable” seven percent.