National 2017 Climate Protection Report: Germany to Miss Its 2020 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Target

On 13 June the Federal Cabinet adopted the national Climate Protection Report 2017.  The report shows that Germany will only reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent by 2020, falling short of its intended target of 40 percent, compared to 1990 levels.

In 2007 Germany set itself the target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 compared with 1990.  In 2014, the Federal Government identified a gap in reaching this goal by 2020.  In order to close the gap of estimated 5-8 percent, the Government adopted the Climate Action Program 2020 and the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NAPE) in December 2014. This Climate Action Program 2020 contained additional measures the German government has put in place to achieve the 2020 target. The measures should provide additional reductions of 62 – 78 million tonnes of CO2.

The 2017 Climate Protection Report 2017 shows that these additional policies will only save a maximum of 52 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020.  Hence these measure were not enough to close the gap to the 2020 goal of cutting emissions by 40 percent.  The Climate Protection Report 2017 stated the possible saving effects for CO2 emissions of the introduced measures, especially in the traffic and building sector were overestimated.

Nevertheless the Government pointed out that the Climate Protection Report 2017 also shows that the current measures are effective in terms of climate protection.  Without these measures the gap would be even larger (12 percent). Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said: “The good thing is that we know the instruments that lead to the target – renewable energy or electro mobility, for example. ”

The Climate Protection Report 2017 explained that the unexpected dynamic economic development and the unexpected significant population growth lead to the gab of estimated 8 percent. In its press release the Government fears that  the gap – due to current trends of economic performance and traffic volumes  – could even exceed 8 percent.

The report lists about 110 measures and sets out in detail what CO2 savings these measures are expected to have in 2020.

We expect the report to trigger a wider debate as to which additional measures will be necessary and/or implemented to further reduce CO2 emissions.  Legally, the 40 percent target is only a political aim, not a binding legal target.  Therefore, one option would be to simply reduce the reduction target to bring it in line with reality.  However, in light of other political declarations, that seems to be the least likely option.

Sources:

Press release of BMUNational Climate Protection Report 2017

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