According to UBA President Dirk Messner: "The projection report clearly shows that additional measures are needed to still be able to achieve the climate targets set. This means that additional reductions in greenhouse gas emissions will have to be made in the next six years, corresponding to a volume of about 40 percent of Germany's emissions in the entire year 2022."
Two different scenarios
The 2023 Projection Report attests to a significant overall gap in reaching the target, although the climate targets under the Federal Climate Protection Act (KSG) have moved closer in contrast to the 2021 Projection Report: The gap of 1,100 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 has been reduced to between 194 million tonnes and 331 million tonnes, depending on the scenario. This means that about 70 to 80 percent of the gap from 2021 has been closed.
The report distinguishes between two scenarios:
- The scenario with existing measures' (WEM) takes into account the measures in force at start of the respective modelling.
- In addition to the with existing measures (WEM) scenario, the with additional measures (WAM) scenario takes into account measures that are already concretely planned but not yet implemented. The future emission reductions of this scenario depend on the political will to implement planned climate policy measures.
In the new projections, the WEM only just misses the target value for the year 2030 with 63 per cent and the WAM reaches it with 65 per cent reduction compared to 1990. However, the target is significantly exceeded in the years before. As a result, the total gap by 2030 is 331 million tonnes of climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions in the WEM scenario and 194 million tonnes of climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions in the WAM scenario. This means that the gap that will arise by 2030 is as large as about 40 per cent of national greenhouse gas emissions in the entire year 2022. With additional planned measures, it still amounts to more than one fifth of the emissions from 2022.
As in the past, the transport (210 million tonnes), buildings (96 million tonnes) and industry (83 million tonnes) sectors miss their targets in the WEM scenario. In the WAM scenario, which also includes planned measures, the transport sector barely reduces its gap (to 187 million tonnes), the buildings sector considerably (to 34 million tonnes) and the industry sector moderately (to 51 million tonnes). Various studies, such as the Climate Protection Instruments Scenario 2030 (KIS-2030) (UBA 2023), Climate-Neutral Germany 2045 (Agora 2022) or The Road to Climate Neutrality (dena 2021), show what significant greenhouse gas emission reductions could look like for the purpose of achieving the targets. The KIS-2030 study shows that, among other things, more rail transport, a reform of the motor vehicle tax and restrictions on fossil fuel heating would be necessary to close the gap by 2030.
The energy, agriculture and waste management sectors exceed their targets and thus partly compensate for the missed targets of the other sectors. The exceeding of the sector targets by 2030 is 38 million tonnes (WEM) and 37 million tonnes (WAM) in the energy sector, 20 million tonnes (WEM) and 40 million tonnes (WAM) in the agriculture sector and 6.4 million tonnes each in the waste sector for WEM and WAM.
The targets set for the sector land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) of -25 million tonnes for 2030, -35 million tonnes for 2040 and -40 million tonnes for 2045 are not met in either scenario. While the target value for 2030 in the WAM scenario is reached from 2035 and thus five years later, the targets for 2040 and 2045 are missed by 10 to 20 million tonnes per year.
According to the projection report, Germany will also miss its climate targets at the European level. Greenhouse gas emissions covered by the European Burden Sharing Agreement (BSA) add up to a total gap of 299 million tonnes in the WEM scenario and 152 million tonnes in the WAM scenario in the relevant period from 2021 to 2030. These gaps are similar in size to the missed targets in the sectors according to the Federal Climate Change Act. BSA emissions fall by almost 35 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005. All other emissions fall under European emissions trading. They fall by a good 71 percent in the same period.
The climate goal of net greenhouse gas neutrality for the year 2045 is clearly missed in both scenarios, with 82 and 86 percent reductions respectively compared to 1990. Thus, according to the current situation, Germany would still emit 229 million tonnes of climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions in the target year 2045 of greenhouse gas neutrality.
For the preparation of the Federal Government's Projection Report, the UBA regularly commissions an independent research consortium that uses an integrated modelling approach to estimate the impact of current climate protection policies on Germany's climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions. The focus is on the results in the sectors up to the year 2030 and in the year 2045. UBA is coordinating the work in close consultation with the relevant departments in all sectors at federal level (energy, transport, industry, buildings, waste management, agriculture and LULUCF).
These projections should not be misunderstood as forecast for coming years. For projections, models are used that project a long-term, plausible greenhouse gas emission development under the conditions and assumptions at the start of the modelling time. Special effects that occur and unforeseen, short-term events, such as the energy crisis last year, cannot be integrated methodically, or only to a limited extent.