Greenhouse gas emissions 2022: Germany achieves its climate target – Politics
Because greenhouse gas emissions have plummeted in industry, Germany has achieved its 2022 climate target. Due to the increased energy prices in the wake of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, companies saved on electricity, gas and oil, and some sectors cut back their production.
According to a forecast by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), which has now been presented, emissions in Germany as a whole fell by 1.9 percent compared to the previous year to 746 million tons of so-called carbon dioxide (CO₂) equivalents. That is ten million tons less than the upper limit set by the Climate Protection Act.
According to the law, Germany should be climate-neutral by 2045
In terms of climate protection, things are less rosy in the other sectors. In the energy industry, emissions increased as expected due to the increased use of coal. Although the building sector was able to reduce emissions, as in the previous year, it is above its target. Traffic remains the problem child of German climate policy. Here the emissions even increased, Minister’s area Volker Wissing (FDP) was nine million tons above the target.
UBA President Dirk Messner reminded politicians that climate targets will become more stringent in the coming years. “To achieve the goals of federal government To achieve this by 2030, emissions must now be reduced by six percent per year. Since 2010, it hasn’t even been two percent on average,” he said. The Federal Republic is now 40.4 percent below the 1990 level, and greenhouse gases are expected to fall by 65 percent by 2030. According to the law, the country should be climate-neutral by 2045.
Above all, Messner called for a much faster pace in the expansion of renewable energies. “We have to manage to install three times as much capacity as before in order to increase the share of renewables in electricity generation to 80 percent by 2030.” Messner explained that there should no longer be a stalemate like in the past few years, and all stumbling blocks on the way to more wind and solar power must be eliminated.
The UBA boss pointed out that the social balance must be maintained in the decarbonization of all areas. “The reduction of climate-damaging subsidies can release important funds that we can use much more sensibly.” That should also have been a nod to the FDP Minister of Transport, whose area is moving in the wrong direction. Emissions increased here for the second time in a row.
The FDP is calling for more time to reduce CO₂ in the transport sector
If a sector exceeds its target, the responsible minister must submit an emergency program within three months to get back on the reduction path. Wissing had presented such a plan last year, but refused to take any measures that could reduce emissions in the long term.
He referred to the German government’s immediate climate protection program, which has not yet been published. Wissing’s FDP is pushing for the sector targets to be softened, traffic should be given more time to reduce CO₂, and other sectors should do more to do so. In 2022 this calculation would have worked out. However, the Greens and the SPD do not want to let the transport sector lose its responsibility.
The Climate Alliance Germany therefore sees the actions of the Ministry of Transport as an ongoing breach of the law. The Chancellor bears the political responsibility for this, as well as for “the ghost trip of the FDP climate protection“, explains Stefanie Langkamp, Head of Politics. Olaf Scholz should no longer tolerate the refusal to work in the Ministry of Transport and must demand effective measures to reduce emissions – “and thus compliance with applicable law in Germany”.
Christoph Bals, political director of the environmental organization Germanwatch, speaks of Wissing’s oath of disclosure and also calls on Chancellor Scholz to prevent “the situation in the transport sector from getting completely out of control”. A legal opinion published by Germanwatch on Monday confirmed the legal accusation against Wissing and Scholz.
In the building sector, emissions are falling – but not far enough
The building sector is also above the mark of the Climate Protection Act for the second year, with emissions falling here compared to the previous year, albeit not sharply enough. Here, too, the high energy prices had a savings effect, and the winter remained relatively mild. The CO₂ balance is likely to further fuel the debate about a ban on new oil and gas heating systems. Both the European Union and the federal government are currently working on draft laws that are intended to accelerate the switch to climate-neutral heating systems. For example, through electricity-based heat pumps. Here, too, the FDP brakes.
In the energy sector, emissions rose as expected, but the sector remained just below its target. Because there was no Russian natural gas, the federal government brought 14 coal-fired power plants that had already been shut down back online; the burning of coal is particularly harmful to the climate. Worse things prevented a sharp increase in electricity generation from renewable energies.
This is how the industry saved the German climate balance in 2022, albeit partly at the expense of its own productivity. “Partly strong energy-saving measures, but also painful production declines are causing emissions to plummet,” analyzes Bals. The Federal Ministry of Economics recently stated that energy-intensive sectors in particular were reducing their production. This affected the metalworking and chemical industries, for example.
Already in 2009, during the financial crisis, and in 2020, the first year of the Corona pandemic, CO₂ emissions from industry had fallen significantly, but never to such a low level as this time. Industrial production only fell by 0.6 percent over the year compared to the previous year. However, the economy here experienced severe slumps, especially in March, the early days of the Russian invasion, and at the end of the year. It is now of central importance, says Bals, to expand renewable energies quickly and to support the industry in its technological transformation, which allows the “development of new business models in times of high fossil energy prices”.