Joint press release by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU)

Germany met its Kyoto Protocol climate protection obligations in 2008

For the year 2008 Germany met its climate protection goal in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol and remains an international frontrunner in the area of climate protection. Greenhouse gas emissions in 2008 sank by 22.2 percent over 1990 levels, a volume equivalent to nearly 280 million tons.

This detailed data for 2008 issues from the National Inventory Report 2010 drawn up by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) and which has now been published jointly with the Federal Ministry for the Environment.  Pursuant to the Kyoto Protocol, Germany is committed to reducing its greenhouse gases during the 2008-2012 period to a level 21 percent lower than that in 1990. There was only a slight change compared to the previous year (2007): there was a slight growth of 0.5 million tons owing mainly to the agriculture industry.

Federal Minister for Environment Röttgen commented, ”A repeat performance in compliance with the Kyoto obligations is a good signal. However, we may not rejoice prematurely as our medium-term climate protection goals are not even close to being achieved. We are looking to achieve a 40-percent reduction of greenhouse gases by 2020 over 1990 levels.  . We are only about half way toward that goal which we must reach in the next ten years, but I am nevertheless convinced that the mitigation strategy we have pursued thus far—raising energy efficiency and developing renewable energies- will be met with success.”

The greatest success in the efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has come from the energy industry. Development of renewable energies has left positive traces. In 2008, some 20 million tons less CO2 than in the prior year were emitted to the atmosphere in the energy production process. This amounts to 66 million tons less CO2 over 1990 volumes. The rise in emissions from private households shown on the energy balance is the result of statistics as well as of low sales of heating oil following the introduction of the higher VAT in 2007 (pull-forward effect after 2006). Other industries remained on a largely similar level as in 2007.

The onset of the financial crisis in 2008 had a very limited effect on emissions—but will be clearly reflected in the 2009 balance.  The President of the Federal Environment Agency, Jochen Flasbarth, said ”We must pursue long-term climate protection even as we recover from the economic crisis. The data demonstrates that Germany is on the right path and must continue along it unflaggingly. The anticipated further decline in climate gas emissions to follow in 2009 will depend largely on economic growth. This is no grounds to ease up on climate protection efforts.  If anything, the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by the year 2020 requires further action.” According to Flasbarth, the trends in emissions in the agriculture and transport sectors have not yet taken a positive turn. He said, ”Achieving sustainable success in climate protection requires that every industry and sector does its bit.”

A chart of greenhouse gas emissions development is here.

The complete report is available for download. The report is due to be published soon in the Climate Change series.

Dessau-Roßlau, 1 February 2010


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