Despite the massive use of coal-fired electricity in the 2022 energy crisis, Germany has achieved its climate target. Greenhouse gas emissions fell by 1.9 percent year-on-year to around 746 million tonnes, the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) announced on Wednesday in Berlin. Compared to 1990, emissions fell by 40.4 percent. The energy sector, as the largest CO2 producer, was nevertheless able to meet its target with increased use of coal.

On the other hand, despite the 9-euro ticket, high fuel prices and more electric cars, traffic failed to meet its legal obligations for the second time in a row. It was even the only sector to increase its emissions by over one million tonnes compared to 2021 because more cars and trucks were on the road. Although the building sector was able to reduce emissions, it also missed the target.

Germany must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 percent by 65 compared to 1990 levels. Climate neutrality is to be achieved by 2045, so the bottom line is that practically no CO2 may escape into the atmosphere.

UBA President: Expansion of renewable energies is crucial

Although the overall target has been met, emissions must now be reduced by six percent every year until 2030, warned UBA President Dirk Messner. Since 2010, it has not even been two percent. "A much faster pace in the expansion of renewable energies is essential," he said. "There must no longer be a stalemate like in recent years." Decarbonisation must cover all areas – from industrial production and buildings to mobility and agriculture.

Due to the increased use of coal, emissions from power plants rose by 4.4 percent. On the other hand, less natural gas was burned and 9 percent more electricity was generated via wind, solar or water. In the industrial sector, emissions fell significantly by 2022 million tonnes of CO19 or 2.10 percent in 4. Here, the sharp rise in energy prices due to the war in Ukraine had a particular impact on the metal and chemical industries.

In the Climate Protection Act, there are upper limits for emissions for each individual sector and every year. Those who miss their targets – such as transport and buildings now – must get back on track with an immediate programme. These programmes are reviewed by an independent panel of experts. The Federal Government is also currently working on a comprehensive climate protection programme in order to be able to achieve the targets in all sectors in the coming years. However, it is currently stuck mainly because of disputes between the climate protection and transport ministries.