Energiewende, Germany’s program in energy supply transition from coal-fired power plants to renewable sources, has enabled the country to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions within a decade and lead other EU countries in energy transition movement.
Emissions in Germany has dropped significantly since 1990, about 27 percent, mostly because of the energy transition, shutting the fossil fuel energy sources and relying on much cleaner and more sustainable energy sources.
Last year, additional 0.5 percent reduction in its overall emissions was reported in a preliminary data released by Germany’s main environmental protection agency Umweltbundesamt (UBA). According to the agency, this reduction is attributed to the gradual transition program of energy industry, resulting in a reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions by 4.1 percent, which is tantamount to 13.7 million tons for 2017 alone.
However, emissions coming from vehicles were found out to increase last year by 2.3 percent, which is equivalent to 170.6 million tons. “While energy-related emissions fell significantly, those in transport and the manufacturing industry went up,” the UBA said in a press release. The increase is attributed to the expansion of car ownership and the country’s growing economy that leads to increasing demand on heavy vehicles.
“Therefore, additional measures are necessary to set Germany on a course toward its targets again,” added UBA. The country has previously imposed a target of 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. However, with its recent achievement of 27.7 percent reduction in reference to 1990 levels, Germany has dropped its target and reset it to 55 percent reduction by the year 2030.
With this new goal, Europe’s biggest economic contributor has committed to establishing climate law by next year, requiring more environmental efforts from sectors that are falling behind. The vehicle industry is planning to restrict usage of diesel vehicles in cities as it moves forward from the Volkswagen scandal three years ago on cheating their US emission tests.