Germany’s Efforts to Reduce CO2 Emission and Comply with the Paris Agreement
The EU made commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Paris Agreement on climate change through an Effort Sharing Decision (ESD). The ESD requires member countries to submit biannual reports on their progress in meeting set emission targets in all sectors of the economy except in land use. So far, the EU has a strong monitoring and compliance system to account for the actions of member states. For instance, Germany intends to reduce GHGs emissions by 40% by 2020. To comply with the expected ESD share in EU, Germany has set yearly targets from 2013 to 2020 versus actual ESD reductions met. The percentage difference between the actual and target ESD is referred as the relative ESD gap to target. Using 2005 emissions reductions as the base year, and data analyzed from Climate Action report (2016), this scenario can be depicted as in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1: % ESD emission, ESD targets and relative gap to target
Figure 2: Actual emissions, targets and absolute gap to target in Mt CO2 equivalent
In Figure 1, the actual percentage ESD emission reduction fall below the yearly percentage targets set through 2020. However, the percentage relative ESD gap to the target ESD emission reductions approaches zero (0) by 2020. This can be confirmed because in reality, the actual emission and target emission reductions in Metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent can also be compared as in Figure 2, with 2005 as the base year.
Thus, the actual annual emission reductions fall below the target emissions but the two tend to converge by 2020.
Germany intends to meet these emission reduction goals by increasing the percentage share of renewable energy consumed to 60% by 2050.
In addition, emission reductions are also targeted in buildings, transport, industry, and the agricultural sector among others. Thus, the above analysis shows that emissions remain stable versus the targets set as from 2015 to 2020 and as such, Germany can be said to be gradually moving in the right direction in honoring the Paris agreement but may slightly miss the emission targets it has set by 2020. The energy transition monitoring report, (2015) also confirms that Germany will probably miss its 2020 emission targets.