15 Jun 2022, 12:20
Julian Wettengel

Germany’s remaining CO2 emission budget “rapidly shrinking,” say govt advisors

Clean Energy Wire

For a “fair and adequate” German contribution to efforts to reach the international climate target of keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5°C, the country may emit no more than 3.1 gigatonnes of CO2 from now on, said German government advisors based on new calculations. The German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU) said that if emissions were reduced in a linear fashion to zero from now on, Germany would have to be CO2-neutral as early as 2031. The country aims to be climate neutral by 2045 – meaning a balance between anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases from sources and the removal of such gases by sinks – but does not have a target for CO2. The government has yet to accept the SRU’s CO2 budget as guidance for its policy. 3.1 gigatonnes are 3.1 billion tonnes, and Germany's emissions added up to almost 800 million tonnes last year.

“The remaining CO2 budget is shrinking rapidly,” researcher and member of the council Wolfgang Lucht said. “This is primarily a consequence of the recently delayed energy transition in Germany.” The government must now adopt measures “with even more vigour” to put Germany on a path in line with the Paris Agreement targets. The SRU has called on the government to base its climate policy on a CO2 budget for some time and today’s paper is an update to previous calculations. The advisors allocate the remaining CO2 budget according to the population share as of 2016.

The budget has been criticised in the past for only looking at CO2, not other greenhouse gas emissions, which are also responsible for the global temperature rise. SRU argues CO2 is the most important greenhouse gas in Germany, responsible for about 88 percent of climate effects of all greenhouse gases. Germany’s constitutional court used the budget for its landmark climate ruling, in which it said the government's climate legislation was insufficient, lacking detail on emission reduction targets beyond 2030.

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