Critical study: This is why Germany is missing its climate target for 2030

Germany risks falling short of its climate target for 2030 according to calculations by the Agora Energiewende think tank. “On the one hand, 2021 is the year in which Germany set the most ambitious climate targets in the history of the Federal Republic,” said Simon Müller, Germany director at Agora and one of the authors of the study. “On the other hand, the implementation gap that the new federal government now urgently needs to close with effective climate protection measures continues to grow.” The paper with the title “The energy transition in Germany: State of affairs 2021” is available to the German Press Agency.

According to preliminary Agora calculations, the emission of climate-damaging gases last year amounted to 772 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). As usual, this includes other greenhouse gases, which have been converted into CO2 for better comparability. This means a significant increase of 33 million tons compared to 2020, when the German economy weakened on the one hand due to the Corona crisis and on the other hand generated a lot of electricity from wind energy due to favorable weather conditions. In addition, there were particularly cold months at the beginning of 2021.

Dramatically increased gas prices

But even beyond such one-off effects, Germany is moving away from the path of CO2 savings that would be necessary on average per year to achieve the federal government’s climate target for 2030, criticize the Agora experts. By then, according to the Climate Protection Act, greenhouse gas emissions should be 65 percent lower than in 1990. The longer the current trend continues, the more efforts will be necessary later. “With the increase in emissions in 2021, from now on we will have to save an average of 37 million tons of CO2 every year in order to meet the 2030 target,” said co-author Müller.

According to the study, an important reason for the increased CO2 emissions is also the relative prices of various energy sources. The share of renewable energies is still comparatively low, and gas prices have risen dramatically. In return, the increasing attractiveness of climate-damaging coal as an energy source cannot be offset by the CO2 price, which companies have to buy rights to emit climate-damaging gases.

The results of a brief analysis published on Thursday by the Energy Science Institute at the University of Cologne fit in with this: The rapidly rising gas prices therefore boosted the demand for coal – and were at the same time the main driver for rising electricity prices.

Traffic missed targets in 2021

According to Agora, the share of renewable energies in electricity consumption was 42.3 percent last year, 3.3 percentage points less than the year before. In the coalition agreement, the SPD, Greens and FDP have set themselves the goal of increasing the proportion to 80 percent in 2030. This requires “a massive and rapid expansion of wind and solar systems,” explained Müller. The current pace is not enough for this: wind turbines and solar systems with a total output of only 6.7 gigawatts were newly built, which recently resulted in a total of 137 gigawatts being generated from renewable energies. Solar systems accounted for three quarters of the increase. The rest is accounted for by new wind turbines on land. No new wind turbines have been connected at sea – for the first time in twelve years.

Germany has specific goals for different economic sectors. While industry, electricity and agriculture have achieved their targets for 2021 according to Agora calculations, the building sector and transport missed them.

The analyzes by Agora Energiewende are based, among other things, on figures from the Energy Balances Working Group, but also on our own calculations. The figures are still preliminary. The federal government will present its own preliminary figures on CO2 emissions for 2021. More definitive dates are only available after a delay of about two years.

Habeck speaks of a “drastic backlog”

For the current year, the think tank demanded from politicians an “expansion offensive for solar energy,” as Müller said. In addition, enough space for wind power would have to be secured and the expansion and renovation of the energy networks planned. Federal Climate Protection Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) recently announced additional efforts in terms of climate protection. “We will probably still miss our targets for 2022, even for 2023 it will be difficult enough,” he told the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit”. With a view to the reduction of climate-damaging greenhouse gases, he explained: “We are starting with a drastic backlog.” (By Martina Herzog, dpa / mer)

Also read:

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Habeck extends state funding for e-cars until the end of 2022

What the coalition agreement means for drivers

From the data center:

CO2 emissions in Germany by November 2021

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Lenny Li

I started to play with tech since middle school. Smart phones, laptops and gadgets are all about my life. Besides, I am also a big fan of Star War. May the force be with you!

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