Joint press release with the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety

Hendricks strives for more ambitious climate targets

Continue to reform European emissions trading

bar chart: In 1990 the emissions were 1,249 million tons of  CO2 equivalents, in 2012 only 940. Target for the year 2020 are minus 40 per cent in comparison with the year 1990. Most of the emissions are produced by the energy industy.Click to enlarge
Development of greenhouse gas emissions in Germany per sector: 1990 - 2012
Source: Umweltbundesamt download PDF

Germany has far exceeded its target set out by the Kyoto Protocol for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is the conclusion reached in a report compiled by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), which has been forwarded to the European Commission by the Federal Environment Ministry and the UBA. However, the developments recorded over the past two years have given Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks cause for concern. Hendricks stated: "We must adopt more ambitious climate targets and reverse the negative trend of the last two years. When it comes to climate change mitigation, the coalition has a packed agenda", stated Hendricks.

According to latest official emissions data for the year 2012, the level of climate-damaging emissions was 24.7 percent lower than during the international base year 1990. Current figures are the first to represent the entire commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, in other words the average taken from the period 2008-2012. For this period Germany committed itself to a greenhouse gas emission reduction of 21 percent - the actual reduction recorded was 23.6 percent. In comparison: for the same period at EU level, emissions dropped by 19 percent.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Building Barbara Hendricks added "The successful implementation of the Kyoto commitment target is an important milestone in climate policy. Now we need to focus our efforts on the target laid down in the coalition agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2020. We have already taken the first steps towards this target by resolving the deadlock in European emissions trading. We need to continue on this path and take action in all areas such as energy efficiency, building modernisation, transport and more reforms to emissions trading."

Emissions for the report year 2012 rose by roughly 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent when compared to the previous year 2011; this represents an increase of 1.1 percent. A similar development is expected for the year 2013. This slight increase can be attributed to the fact that more lignite, hard coal and petroleum was used in electricity production. Energy demand for heating purposes also rose due to weather conditions. For the report year 2012, the biggest increase of 3 percent in each was recorded in the energy industry and in private households. There was a slight decrease of 2 percent in emissions from industry. Furthermore, the current low reduction requirements are impacting on the European emissions trading scheme: CO2 emissions from businesses in the energy sector and industry have only been reduced by 5 percent since 2005.

Acting President of the Federal Environment Agency Thomas Holzmann added: "If we want to maintain the European emissions trading scheme as a vital instrument for climate action steps must urgently be taken to revive it. This will require ambitious reduction targets across Europe of at least 40 percent by 2030 as well as a structural reform of the scheme that avoids surpluses in the system." The economic crisis and the use of international project emission allowances mean that current reduction targets of the European emissions trading scheme for 2020 do not appear very ambitious. Consequently prices are continuously falling and there are high surpluses in emissions trading allowances due to the lack of incentives to invest in reduction measures.

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