Open coal pit near Jackerath Germany, Source: Wim van 't Einde / Unsplash

Germany reaches 2022 CO2 targets, but not thanks to climate measures

Germany reaches 2022 CO2 targets, but not thanks to climate measures

Authorities estimate a 1.9% decrease compared to 2021, equivalent to 15 million tons

Germany met its emissions reduction targets for 2022, according to preliminary data from the country’s Climate Expert Council (Expertenrat fur Klimafragen). However, the Council also explained that this could largely be due to unique contributing factors in 2022, which include the war in Ukraine, the subsequent energy crisis and mild weather conditions during the winter.

Removing these conditions, which the Council outlines in its report from 17 April, would actually reveal an increase in emissions. Additionally, the Council called for introducing climate legislation to counteract growing emissions in certain sectors.

The good news

According to the German Climate Protection Act, Section 8, Subsection 1, the Federal Government needs to enact emergency measures to limit emissions in the said sector within three months. Here, the Climate Expert Council has highlighted that the building emissions sector has exceeded its carbon allowance for the third year in a row.

Nevertheless, researchers say that in 2021, Germany emitted 760 metric tons of CO2. In 2022, that number dropped to 746 metric tons, which is a 1.9% decrease or 15 million tons. This fits Germany’s climate targets on the way towards climate neutrality by reducing emissions by 65% compared to 1990.

Hiding behind the numbers

Despite the seemingly good news, showing that emissions reduction is still on track, the Climate Expert Council pointed out that the transport sector had produced around 9.7 million tons of CO2 in excess of carbon targets. The mileage driven in 2022 was close to that of 2019.

Another offender is construction showing strong signs of growth with no clear trend reversal in sight. Researchers have pointed out that, due to the relatively mild winter and changed behaviour stemming from the energy crisis, buildings have emitted around 6 million tons less CO2, but are still above the limit.

The energy sector also registered an increase in emissions in 2022, from 245 in 2021 to 256. Researchers attribute the rise largely to the drop in the natural gas supply, which also included the government reopening coal power plants which were previously shut down.

Furthermore, manufacturing also saw a reduced output due to the war in Ukraine, with disrupted supply chains and higher energy costs. Experts say that without these factors, CO2 emissions from the sector would be 9 million tons higher and the current decline might also be only temporary.



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