Joint press release of the German Environment Agency and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety

Sharp decrease of climate gases in Germany in 2014

Minister Hendricks: Need for action in transport and agriculture sectors

Eine Solaranlage auf freien Feld, im Hintergrund drehen sich WindkrafträderClick to enlarge
Renewable energies include wind and solar power, biomass, geothermal energy and hydropower
Source: Jose Juan Castellano /

Emissions of Germany’s greenhouse gases in 2014 made the first significant decline in years. Overall emissions for the year were 901.9 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents – 4.6 percent below the previous year. However, emissions increased in the transport and agricultural sectors. These data are based on the German GHG inventories which the German Environment Agency (UBA) has communicated to the European Commission.

Greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector rose by 1.2 percent to about 161 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents, which is due to increased road traffic. The transport sector has thus made virtually no progress since 2005 in terms of its climate impact. Mitigation efforts in the agriculture sector have also stagnated: Germany’s GHG emissions in 2014 increased by some 2.2 percent over the previous year, rising to a total of 66 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents.

Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said: “The transport and agriculture sectors have been neglected in climate protection efforts for far too long. This has got to change. We need a climate turnaround in all sectors. The Climate Protection Plan 2050 which the Federal Government wants to present this summer will point the way to such a change.”

UBA’s President Maria Krautzberger said: “We urgently need a change in transport policy, for example better delivery of bus and rail services, more electric mobility for cars and bicycles, and support for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. It is the only way we can achieve our climate targets in the transport sector.”

The main reasons for the development in agriculture are the increased emissions from liming and the use of urea-based fertilisers as well as the milk quota phase out which has been a driver of more intensive dairy cattle farming. The popular practice of energy crop digestion to produce energy is also responsible for the rise in agricultural emissions.

Total emissions of greenhouse gases in Germany in 2014 reached 901.9 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents, which represents a reduction of 43.3 million tonnes compared to 2013. The greatest reduction was achieved in electric power generation (20.9 million tonnes) although the power export balance continued to grow as in previous years; therefore the associated emissions must be reflected in the German inventories. Nevertheless, the use of fossil fuels was further reduced thanks to the expansion of renewable energy sources and wind power and photovoltaics in particular.

Due mainly to prevailing weather conditions, less oil and gas was consumed for heating buildings and homes, thus creating a savings of 20.8 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents.

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