Germany met the emission targets for the 2008 to 2012 period under the Kyoto Protocol already in 2008, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Saftey (BMU) and the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) announced in a joint press release.
Greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 22.2% or roughly 280 million tons in 2008 compared with 1990. According to the Kyoto Protocol, Germany is obliged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 21% compared with 1990 in the period from 2008 to 2012. Compared with 2007, emissions rose slightly by 0.5 million tons due to higher emissions in the farming sector.
Federal Minister for the Environment Norbert Röttgen called the figures a positive signal, but warned that the medium term target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% until 2020 still required considerable efforts. He was confident that the German strategy to increase energy efficiency and expand renewable energy would bear fruit.
The greatest achievements in terms of greenhouse gas emission reductions were reached in the energy sector by expanding renewable energies. Compared with 2007, 20 million tons of CO2 could be avoided in the energy sector, compared with 1990 the reduction amounts to 66 million tons of CO2. Other sectors remained on similar levels as in 2007.
The economic crisis which started in 2008 affected emissions only slightly. However, it will have a considerable impact on the figures for 2009, predicted the president of UBA, Jochen Flasbarth. He called on all parties involved not to relent in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions despite the economic crisis. According to Mr Flasbarth, especially emissions in the farming and the transport sector still need to be improved.