Germany’s climate effort to lag below 2030 targets, say experts

Germany aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 65 percent by 2030, on the road to greenhouse gas neutral by 2045.

Traffic sign
A traffic sign indicating the ban on vehicles with Euro 5 diesel engines, on the Mittlerer Ring in Munich, Germany [File: Lukas Barth/Reuters]

Germany’s greenhouse emissions gap will likely be more extensive than government estimates in 2030, even if reduction measures are fully implemented, a group of climate experts said.

Berlin aims to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 65 percent by 2030 compared with 1990, on the road to becoming greenhouse gas neutral by 2045.

Last year, the country’s CO2 levels were already 40 percent below the 1990 level.

While the German government’s planned CO2 cuts for the energy and industrial sector could cut emissions significantly, efforts in the buildings and transports sector are lagging, a council said in a report on Tuesday.

Even if all the measures are implemented, the buildings sector will have a CO2 gap of 35 million tonnes by 2030, while the transport sector is expected to miss the target with excess emissions of 117 million to 191 million tonnes.

Hans-Martin Henning, the council’s chairman, said in a statement, “The expected overall reduction is probably overestimated”.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), between 2013 – 2020, Berlin missed overall climate targets in critical sectors, particularly transport and buildings.

However, the report indicated that a bill aimed to phase out oil and gas heating systems would contribute to lower cuts in the building sector.

Last year, the building sector emitted 112 million tonnes of greenhouse gases or 15 percent of the total.

The scope of a rule phasing out the use of fossil fuels in heating systems in old buildings in favour of ones that run with 65 percent renewable energy from 2024 was significantly pushed back from the pro-business Free Democratic Party to amend the initial bill.

The transport ministry’s assumptions on the effectiveness of the planned measures for cutting emissions are also “optimistic”, the council said.

“There is a lack of coherent and consistent overall concept and an overarching framework of measures,” the report found.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies