24 Jan 2018, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann

German emissions rise in 2016 / Finance needs "greening"

Federal Environment Agency (UBA)

An increase in transport sector emissions drove up Germany’s total greenhouse gas emissions for the second time in a row in 2016, according to the the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). At 909.4 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, emissions were 2.6 million tonnes higher than 2015, the agency reports. Emissions from the transport sector amounted to 166.8 million tonnes, higher than in the base year 1990, and mostly due to a higher share of road freight transport and rising registrations of private heavy vehicles.

“We need a new approach in the transport sector,” UBA head Maria Krautzberger says. She argues that if Germany wants to achieve its 2030 goal of reducing transport sector emissions by 70 million tonnes, there has to be a quota for electric cars and a reversal of the trend towards heavy vehicles. “But the legal framework doesn’t add up,” Krautzberger says, calling on the European Union to raise its ambitions for emissions reduction and set an average limit value of 75 grams CO2 per kilometre across any fleet of cars manufactured from 2025.

Emissions from the power sector fell by 4.6 million tonnes, despite higher power exports in 2016, but at a total of 332 million tonnes, or 36.5 percent of all emissions, still accounted for the largest share of all sectors, the UBA writes.

Agency head Krautzberger says coal-fired power production must be addressed quickly. Full load hours of hard coal and lignite plants over 20 years old should be reduced, and at least 5 gigawatts of the most inefficient lignite plants taken off the grid, she argues. “Otherwise we not only risk missing our 2020 climate goal but will also get into trouble at the end of the next decade.” Germany has reduced its emissions by 27.3 percent by 2016 compared to 1990 levels. The government officially aims to reduce them by 40 percent by 2020, but the goal “is likely to be clearly missed,” the UBA says.

Find the press release in German here.

Find background on the development in 2017 in the article Germany's energy use and emissions likely to rise yet again in 2017.

WWF / Frankfurt School of Management / Hub for Sustainable Finance Germany

The German financial system urgently needs a revamp to adapt to the decarbonisation of the economy, according to a report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management and the Hub for Sustainable Finance Germany, which includes Deutsche Börse. “Germany is lagging behind internationally. There is no serious political discussion about ‘greening’ finance, even though political targets - such as climate targets – are tightly bound to the finance system,” said WWF manager Jörg Andreas Krüger. Financial risks related to climate change and the fight against it – such as stranded assets - need to be analysed and made more transparent so they can be avoided, WWF says in a press release.

Read the WWF press release and the study in German here.

Read a Reuters article in English on the subject here.


Fossil-fuel utility RWE has called for compensation if Germany opts for a quick coal exit. “If there is a desire, socially, that a coal exit should come very quickly we have to be compensated for it,” company CEO Rolf Martin Schmitz told an industry conference in Berlin.

Read the article in English here.

The CLEW dossier Utilities and the Energy Transition provides plenty of background.

pv magazine / Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organisation

European power trading causes more fluctuation in the electricity grid than the feed-in of renewable power, according to a study by the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organisation. The grid displays particular large fluctuations every 15 minutes - exactly the time period for wholesale power trading, according to a press release on the paper, which was published in Nature Energy. "Interestingly, frequency fluctuations caused by trading seem to be more relevant than fluctuations caused by renewables," study author Marc Timme summarizes.

Find the press release in English here.

Find an article in pv magazine in German here.

For background, check out the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany's power grid.

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