15 May 2020, 14:07
Sören Amelang

Germany on course to widely miss EU emission targets – think tank

Clean Energy Wire

Germany is on track to widely miss its EU obligations to reduce CO2 emissions, even if the EU does not follow through plans to step up its ambitions in the fight against climate change, according to calculations by think tank Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut). In sectors that are not covered by the Emissions Trading System (ETS) such as buildings, transport and agriculture, Germany is on course to lower emissions by 28 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 with existing legislation, falling short of its effort-sharing target of minus 38 percent. Germany's effort-sharing emissions were above target for the fourth year in a row in 2019 despite a significant emissions drop. To reach the EU's 2030 effort-sharing regulation targets, "considerable emissions reductions are needed in transport and buildings in particular," the institute said.

The European Commission has proposed to raise the EU 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target from the current 40 percent to between 50 and 55 percent. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has welcomed this plan, adding that carbon pricing would be her instrument of choice. Climate specialists have already warned that raising the EU target will result in a challenging debate about tightening Germany’s national sector targets. While the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) stipulates the emissions reduction targets for the energy and industry sectors, the Effort Sharing scheme regulates other sectors and assigns targets to each member state. Merkel said this week EU member states will have to re-negotiate their effort-sharing contributions in case the bloc decides to raise its 2030 climate target. Her conservative CDU/CSU alliance said a “fair” allocation of greenhouse gas emissions reduction efforts is a prerequisite to raising the joint 2030 climate target.

According to the Institute of Applied Ecology forecast, Germany would amass a deficit of 270 million tonnes in the period from 2021 to 2030 on a linear path to a 28 percent emissions reduction, resulting in high costs for buying emission allocations from other countries. The researchers say the deficit could be lowered by 100 million tonnes if measures to lower emissions take effect earlier. "Thus, not only the implementation of further additional measures to achieve the objectives is necessary, but also their early effectiveness in order to avoid [emission allocation] deficits and resulting costs." A year ago, the institute forecast a cumulated deficit of 380 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents. The lower forecast is due to the government's climate action package introduced last year.

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