Greenhouse gas emissions rise again slightly in 2013, by 1.2 per cent

Coal-generated electricity boosts emissions – jeopardises national climate protection goal

The chart shows the greenhouse gases in million tonnes CO2 equivalents. In 1990 1,248 were emitted, in 2012 940 and the forecast for 2013 is 951. CO2 is the biggest proportion, than CH4, N2O and f-gases.Click to enlarge
Greenhouse gas emissions in Germany, 1990 - Forecast 2013
Source: Umweltbundesamt diagram as PDF file

Greenhouse gas emissions in Germany rose again slightly in 2013, by 1.2 per cent compared to the previous year. These are the preliminary results of first estimates by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). A total of nearly 951 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents were emitted in 2013, almost 12 million tonnes more than in 2012. CO2 emissions account for most of the increase, with a rise of 1.5 percent. This is caused by more hard coal use for the production of electricity, and weather conditions required more oil and gas for heating in homes and buildings. The seven-per cent rise to 33 terrawat hours (TWh) in net electricity export also pushed emissions up.

Vice-President Thomas Holzmann of UBA says, “It is worrisome that the trend towards coal-generated electricity became even more pronounced in 2013. If it continues, we can hardly expect to achieve the Federal Government’s climate protection goal for 2020. The aim is for Germany to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent over 1990 levels. According to the latest calculations by UBA, emissions have now been reduced by 23.8 per cent. “It appears that European and national climate protection measures are not sufficient. This is why we encourage the Federal Government to make a plea in Brussels to establish a reduction goal of at least 40 per cent by 2030 for all of Europe. It is also important for the EU to set ambitious goals for the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency,” continued Mr Holzmann.

At national level, priority should be given to the upgrading of energy efficiency in buildings and sustainable mobility. The key to success at national and European level, however, lies in reforming the emissions trading scheme. “The emissions trading scheme currently provides too little incentive for companies to use fewer climate-damaging fuels. We support the Federal Government’s demand to introduce instruments to stabilise emissions trading well ahead of 2020,” said UBA’s Vice-President Holzmann. Emissions trading in Germany accounts for more than 50 per cent of Germany’s CO2 emissions. (Note: Verified data for 2013 CO2 emissions in the emissions trading sector will become available as scheduled on 1 April 2014.)

As in previous years, renewable energy is the reason for the relatively moderate rise in emissions in 2013 despite greater use of coal-generated electricity. According to the Working Group on Energy Balances, renewables were already contributing 23.9 per cent of gross electricity production in 2013. UBA Vice-President Holzmann commented, “We would be well-advised to continue with rapid development of renewable energy. The changes to the Renewable Energies Act must ensure that the established expansion targets for renewable energy can be achieved – in particular as concerns onshore wind energy and photovoltaics. We also need to promote the conversion of fossil-fuel-fired power stations to become more flexible and emit less CO2.”

Umweltbundesamt Headquarters

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06844 Dessau-Roßlau

Greenhouse gas emissions in Germany 2013 (preliminary results of first estimates 3/2014)

  1. Greenhouse gas emissions in Germany, 1990 - Forecast 2013
  2. CO2 Emissions in Germany – Short-term forecasts for 2013
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 greenhouse gases  greenhouse gas emission  CO2 emission  energy-related emissions