According to the German government, the impact of the Corona crisis on Germany’s climate balance cannot yet be predicted in detail – but it brings the 2020 climate protection target within reach. By how much greenhouse gas emissions have declined, he said "currently still fraught with uncertainty and cannot yet be accurately predicted", says the climate protection report for 2019, which is to be approved by the federal cabinet on Wednesday. When the 2020 emissions "expected to be significantly lower", the goal of emitting 40 percent fewer greenhouse gases than in 1990 can be achieved.
The German government had actually written off this 2020 target as no longer achievable – and therefore allowed itself significantly more climate-damaging greenhouse gases for 2020 in the new climate protection law. Now it could work out after all. In addition to the dramatic consequences of Corona for the economy and jobs, the EU emissions trading system, in which the energy sector and parts of industry trade in pollution rights, also contributes to the problem, "A higher mitigation contribution than expected six months ago", states the report.
Not under its own power
The paper puts the mitigation impact of the 2020 climate change program, which was adopted in 2014, at between 37.5 and 47.96 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent, a unit into which all greenhouse gases are converted. That alone won’t be enough to meet 2020 target.
"The German government must openly admit that it will not achieve its 2020 climate protection goal on its own", said Grunen leader Annalena Baerbock to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur. "Only through the Corona crisis could it possibly still achieve this – and no one can really be happy about that." This is the receipt "for the years of inaction" of the grand coalition.
"With the drought and the heat we experience again that the climate crisis does not stop, blob because the Corona crisis is there", warned Baerbock. There is now a need for a renewable energy offensive – binding flat targets for the expansion of eco-electricity or solar installations as standard for every new roof are measures that could be tackled immediately, he said.
Ongoing climate crisis
As Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) had already announced in the spring, almost 54 million tons less greenhouse gases were emitted in Germany in 2019 than in the previous year, which was a decrease of 6.3 percent. According to the report, the total CO2 equivalent was 805 million tons and 35.7 percent less than in 1990. To meet the 2020 target, emissions had to drop to about 750 million metric tons – but the new climate change law sets a target of 813 metric tons. The implementation and impact of the 2030 climate protection program adopted last fall will not be reported on until next year in the 2020 climate protection report.
The drop in greenhouse gases in 2019 was largely due to the energy industry, as Schulze had already explained. Industry, agriculture and waste management also contributed, while buildings and transport emitted slightly more CO2.