CO2 emissions will increase in Germany in 2021

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In the past year, 772 million tons of CO2– Equivalents emitted. According to the Agora Energiewende think tank, that is 33 million tons or 4.5 percent more than in the previous year. Although emissions did not reach the same level as in 2019 before the pandemic broke out, the restrictions have not yet been fully overcome. At the same time, the 2020 target of -40 percent will be missed again with a 38 percent reduction in emissions compared to 1990.

The increase in 2021 should be seen in connection with the significant decrease in emissions in the previous year, writes Agora Energiewende (PDF). The pandemic began in 2020 and, among other things, mobility dropped significantly during the first lockdown. The economic recovery in the past year was the main driver for the rising emissions. In addition, there is a sharp rise in the price of fuel for natural gas.

The decline in electricity generation from renewable energies is also responsible for the increased CO₂ emissions. According to preliminary figures in December, the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW) calculated that around 42 percent of the electricity generated in Germany had been generated with renewable energies in 2021 . In 2020 it was 46 percent. In the coalition agreement, the traffic light coalition stipulated that 80 percent of electricity should come from renewable energies by 2030.

According to the think tank, the shrinking share of green electricity in 2021 had two main reasons: On the one hand, electricity consumption increased from 548 to 560 terawatt hours compared to 2020. On the other hand, this increase could not be covered by renewables due to less favorable weather conditions such as weaker winter storms at the beginning of the year.

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The share of coal in electricity generation rose by almost a fifth to 27.8 percent in 2021, according to Agora Energiewende. This share could fall again if gas prices drop. Despite persistently restricted mobility, there will be more CO in the transport sector in 20212 has been emitted than is allowed under the Climate Protection Act, it says in the report. As in the previous year, the so-called sector targets would also be missed in the building sector, namely by 12 million tons of CO₂ in 2020. The emissions from industry were on the target path because production was still somewhat subdued in 2021.

At the end of last year, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck had already been in the time said that Germany will miss its climate targets in 2022 and probably 2023. The German Climate Protection Act passed in 2019 provides for annual CO₂ reductions that are reviewed by an independent expert council. It contains reduction targets for the areas of energy, buildings, traffic, industry and agriculture. If milestones are missed, the responsible ministries have to make adjustments within three months.


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