Indicator: Greenhouse gas emissions

A graph shows the trend in greenhouse gas emissions in Germany, which fell from 1,251 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents in 1990 to 674 million tonnes in 2023. The bars are divided into different sectors. The graph shows all target values up to 2045.Click to enlarge
Emission of greenhouse gases covered by the UN Framework Convention on Climate
Source: German Environment Agency Figure as PDF

Table of Contents


At a glance

  • According to initial calculations, greenhouse gas emissions in Germany declined by exactly 46.1 % between 1990 and 2023.
  • Germany aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 % by 2020 and by at least 65 % by 2030 compared to 1990 emission levels. Complete greenhouse gas neutrality is to be achieved by 2045.
  • In 2023, Germany was well below the target of minus 40 % set for 2020. The targets for 2030 appear to be achievable.
  • With the ‘amended Federal Climate Protection Act’ in 2021, the allowed sectoral emission quantities for the year 2030 were significantly reduced and the greenhouse gas neutrality to be achieved was brought forward from the year 2050 to the year 2045. To achieve the climate protection targets for 2030, the German government is developing climate protection programs. These may be supplemented by immediate climate protection programs.

Environmental importance

Greenhouse gases are released mainly through the use of fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum. Industrial processes and livestock farming are also relevant emission sources. Rising levels of greenhouse gases warm the earth's atmosphere, leading to climate change. Global warming has diverse negative impacts such as rising sea levels, increased risks of flooding, drought and other extreme weather events.

Thus at the 2015 Climate Summit in Paris the international community agreed to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C when possible and to keep it well below 2 °C. This can only be achieved if global greenhouse gas emissions are rapidly reduced.


Assessing the development

Greenhouse gas emissions in Germany have fallen since 1990: from 1,251 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents in 1990 to 674 million tonnes in 2023. Overall, this corresponds to a reduction of exactly 46 %. Excluding the low values in certain years with special circumstances, the indicator follows a long-term downward trend. After a period of stagnation, emissions have fallen significantly in 2018 to 2023, mainly due to the rising share of renewable energies, declines in fossil energy generation and, above all, lower demand for energy from industry and consumers in 2023. In 2023, emissions fell by 76 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents or 10.1 % compared to the previous year (cf. UBA press release 11/2024).

At the end of 2015, a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol was agreed with the Paris Convention. The development to date makes it clear that intensive efforts in climate protection are necessary to achieve the targets. The German government has therefore initiated measures in the form of the Climate Action Programme 2020, the Climate Action Programme 2030 and the Climate Action Programme 2023 (in German only). With the Federal Climate Change Act, binding annual emission quantities for 2019 as well as a monitoring and sharpening mechanism for the individual sectors were agreed upon in order to ensure the greenhouse gas reduction target of ‘at least 65 %’ by 2030 and greenhouse gas neutrality in 2045.



The indicator is based on the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2022 (EU Submission, January 2024) and separately calculated emissions data for 2023 (cf. UBA press release 11/2024). The calculation method is described in the latest inventory report (UBA 2023). Emissions of all greenhouse gases governed by the Kyoto Protocol (e.g. carbon dioxide, methane) are compiled in a standardised format. Since the different gases have different impacts on the climate, their effect is expressed in terms of the effect of carbon dioxide (CO2 equivalents).

More detailed information: ’Treibhausgas-Emissionen in Deutschland’ (in German only).