At a glance
- Greenhouse gas emissions of the manufacturing industry fell by around 31 % between 1995 and 2022.
- Over the same period, productivity in the manufacturing industry grew by about 46 % (adjusted for price).
- Germany is aiming for greenhouse gas neutrality by 2045.
Since the beginning of industrialisation in particular, humans have caused the emission of large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. As a consequence, temperatures rose. This has a number of repercussions, such as an increase in the number of extreme weather events (e.g. storms, droughts and floods), destabilisation of infrastructure, the spread of tropical diseases etc.
The most important source of greenhouse gas emissions has been and still is the combustion of fossil energy sources. Energy is largely used in the production of goods. This explains the important role the manufacturing sector plays in resolving the climate issue.
The industry is also an indirect cause of greenhouse gas emissions, as it purchases electricity and heat from external power plant operators. This share of emissions should also be attributed to the industry, but the effect is not considered in the indicator, because no current data are available.
Assessing the development
Since 1995, greenhouse gas emissions by the manufacturing industry have fallen by 31 %. According to Environmental Economic Accounting (EEA) figures of the Federal Statistical Office, Germany’s total emissions in all sectors (including energy production, traffic and households) fell by just around 33 % (cf. ‘Greenhouse gas emissions’ indicator) in the same period. This means that greenhouse gas emissions from industry have developed in parallel with those of the economy as a whole. In addition: At the same time, the sector’s gross value-added grew by nearly 46 % (adjusted for price). The main reasons for these developments are more efficiency production processes and an increasing number of high-quality and resource efficient products. In addition, there has been a switch to more current-based production processes.
What has to be taken into account is that when installations are not used to full capacity, their efficiency will decrease. This explains the development of the indicator in the crisis year 2009, when gross value added fell by 20 %, whereas emissions of greenhouse gases decreased by approximately 11 % only.
In the amended Federal Climate Protection Act, the Federal Government set ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions: By 2040, emissions are to be 88% below 1990 levels, and greenhouse gas neutrality is to be achieved in 2045 (Federal Government, 2021). In order to achieve these targets, the manufacturing industry – one of the major emitters – must also continue to reduce its emissions.
The indicator uses the official emission figures from the reporting on the Federal Climate Protection Act, which are published by the Federal Environment Agency as of 15 March each year until the previous year. Gross value added as a price-adjusted index is taken from the national accounts of the Federal Statistical Office.
More detailed information: „Treibhausgas-Emissionen in Deutschland“ (in German only).