Indicator: Greenhouse gas emissions in industry

A graph shows greenhouse gas emissions and price-adjusted gross value-added between 1995 and 2014. Greenhouse gas emissions fell from 234,834 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents in 1995 to 172,218 million tonnes in 2014. Gross value-added increased.Click to enlarge
Greenhouse gas emissions in manufacturing industry
Source: Federal Statistical Office of Germany Figure as PDF

Table of Contents


At a glance

  • Greenhouse gas emissions by manufacturing industry fell by nearly 27 % between 1995 and 2014.
  • Over the same period, productivity grew by 33 %.
  • Overall greenhouse gas emissions in Germany should fall by 95 % by 2050.

Environmental importance

Since the beginnings of industrialisation in particular, humans have caused the emission of large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, where temperatures rose as a consequence. This has a number of repercussions, such as an increase in precipitation, 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 climate issue.

The industry is also an indirect cause of greenhouse gas emissions, as it purchases electricity and heat from external power station operators. This share of emissions should also be attributed to the industry, but the effect is not taken into account in the indicator because no suitable data are currently available.


Assessing the development

Since 1995, greenhouse gas emissions by manufacturing industry have fallen by nearly 27 %. According to Environmental Economic Accounting (UGR) figures, total emissions in Germany fell by just around 19 % (cf. ‘Greenhouse gas emissions’ indicator) in the same period. The trend is thus better in this sector than in the overall economy. At the same time, the sector grew by 39 %. The main reason for this development is the switch to cleaner energy sources within the sector.

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 its Energy Concept of 2010 (in German only), the Federal Government set ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By 2050, emissions should be 80 % to 95 % below 1990 levels (Federal Government 2010). In order to achieve these targets, the manufacturing industry – one of the major emitters – must also continue to reduce its emissions.



The indicator uses figures of the Environmental Economic Accounting (UGR, in German only) provided by the Federal Statistical Office of Germany. The greenhouse gas tables of UGR are essentially based on data of the Emissions Inventory of the German Environment Agency (UBA 2017), but must be adapted to the UGR system. The method is explained in detail by Thomas (2012, in German only).