Berlin (dpa) – According to calculations by think tank Agora Energiewende, greenhouse gas emissions in Germany will increase significantly this year.
Emissions are likely to increase by about 47 million tons compared to 2020, according to the analysis available to the German news agency. That is the largest increase since 1990. The decrease in emissions compared to 1990 will therefore be only 37 percent.
In the Corona year 2020, greenhouse gas emissions were around 739 million tons, 40.8 percent below the base year 1990. Germany had thus achieved the climate target of 40 percent reduction – also because factories temporarily stopped producing during the Corona lockdown and there was less travel by car or plane. More than a third of the reductions were due to the pandemic, according to the Federal Environment Agency. The government had therefore expected an increase in emissions this year.
Highest increase in greenhouse gas emissions since 1990
Meanwhile, the economy has started again and there is more traffic on the streets. “The alleged success of a 40 percent emission reduction last year was not an effective climate protection, but a flash in the pan caused by Corona and special effects,” emphasizes Agora director Patrick Graichen. In 2021, Germany will record the largest increase in greenhouse gas emissions since 1990. “That even surpasses the increase after the economic crisis in 2009/2010.”
Previously unfavorable weather conditions for electricity generation from renewable energy sources also contributed to the renewed increase. Onshore wind turbine generation fell by 20 percent in the first six months. The development was also unfavorable in July. Electricity generation from renewable energy sources was 6.7 percent below last year’s figure due to the weather, according to the Federal Network Agency.
In return, conventional power plants run more frequently. The energy company RWE announced that its lignite electricity production in the first half of the year was almost 50 percent higher than in the same period of the previous year. Lignite power plants emit a lot of carbon dioxide.
Germany has given itself a faster pace in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The goal to be greenhouse gas neutral by 2045 is enshrined in the new Climate Protection Act, ie to emit only as much greenhouse gas as can be limited again. Along the way, emissions are expected to fall by 65 percent by 2030 and an 88 percent reduction should be achieved by 2040.
The law also prescribes annual emission levels in individual economic sectors such as transport, buildings or industry. These goals for 2021 will be missed, Agora said. “This means that an immediate program of effective climate protection measures in all sectors is not only necessary, but also required by law,” Graichen demands. The future federal government must launch “the largest immediate climate protection program that has ever existed in the Federal Republic” within the first 100 days.
The Agora calculation is based on figures from the Energy Balances Working Group. It had identified a 4.3 percent increase in energy consumption and a 6.3 percent increase in CO2 emissions for the first half of 2021. The Agora experts point out that their estimate is associated with uncertainties due to the large number of influencing factors.