The largest reduction in CO2 emissions, at 4.6 million metric tonnes, has been achieved in the energy sector, notwithstanding an increase in exports of electrical power. At 332.1 million metric tonnes per year, however, most of the emissions are accounted for by the energy sector (36.5%). “If we want to get anywhere quickly with climate protection, we're going to have to deal with the problem of coal-generated electricity. I would also advise setting a limit of no more than 4000 full-load hours per plant per year for lignite and hard coal plants which are older than 20 years. What's more, at least 5 gigawatts of the oldest and most inefficient coal-fired power plants should be shut down completely.” said Ms Krautzberger. “And if we're going to meet our climate targets by 2030, it's crucial that the energy sector should account for much of the reduction. But this will only happen if we quickly get on with decommissioning older and inefficient lignite and hard coal power plants. Otherwise we run the risk not only of missing our climate goals for 2020 but also of getting into trouble all over again at the end of the next decade.” In 2016, Germany succeeded in reducing its emissions by only 27.3% in comparison to 1990 levels; the Federal Government had originally set the goal of a 40% reduction for 2020, which is likely to be missed by some margin.
The emissions brought about by heating buildings rose for weather-dependent reasons by a further 3.6 million metric tonnes in comparison to 2050, as more energy was required for heating. Ms Krautzberger said : “When it comes to buildings, there is enormous potential for making savings, whether by means of more efficient thermal insulation, overhauling old central heating systems or through using renewable energies.”
In agriculture, emissions fell slightly in 2016 in comparison to the previous year, to 65.2 million metric tonnes. The scaled-back use of mineral fertilisers was crucial to this reduction. However, industrial emissions increased slightly, by 1.4 per cent, due in particular to the growth of the metals industry.
Emissions by greenhouse gases
In 2016, carbon dioxide (CO2), with a share of 88.2%, was once again the leading greenhouse gas, generated mainly by the combustion of fossil fuels. The remaining emissions were divided between methane (CH4), at 6 per cent, and nitrous oxide (N2O), at 4.2 percent, which were principally generated by agriculture. Compared to 1990, emissions of carbon dioxide fell by 23.9 percent, of methane by 54.4 per cent and of nitrous oxide by 41.1 percent.
Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) cause a total of only about 1.7 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, but have very high global warming potential. Here, the trend is less uniform: As a result of the introduction of new technologies and the use of these substances as substitutes, the emissions of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) have declined since 1995 by 40 and 87.5 percent respectively. In the same period, emissions of halogenated hydrofluorocarbons have risen by 31.1 percent. Emissions of nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) increased slightly after 1995, by 110.7 percent, but have decreased again rapidly since 2010.