Germany surpasses climate target for 2020 due to coronavirus

Germany surpasses climate target for 2020 due to coronavirus

Germany surpasses climate target for 2020 due to coronavirus

Every cloud, they say, has a silver lining: Largely due to coronavirus, CO2 emissions in Germany fell by over 80 million tons in 2020, meaning that the country managed to beat a climate protection target that had long been written off.

The beneficial side of COVID-19?

Experts in Germany have revealed that CO2 emissions fell by about 80 million tons in 2020. This allowed the federal republic to beat a climate protection goal that had long been considered unattainable. The target was for Germany to reduce its CO2 emissions by 40 percent compared to 1990 levels.

According to calculations by the Agora Energiewende think tank, greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 were 42,3 percent lower than in 1990. This reduction is largely down to the coronavirus pandemic, which was responsible for around two-thirds of the overall decrease; without the pandemic, emissions would have only dropped by about 25 million tons - 37,8 percent compared to the 1990 level.

"There were only real climate protection effects in 2020 in the electricity sector because the reduction in CO2 here is due to the replacement of coal with gas and renewable energies," said Patrick Graichen, director of Agora Energiewende. "Traffic and industry will emit more greenhouse gases again as soon as the economy picks up again." For 2021 he expects more emissions overall, explaining the only way to overcome this would be by changing climate policy.

Energy consumptions falls in Germany

Energy consumption also fell significantly in Germany last year. According to experts, this is down to high CO2 taxes in the EU, making coal power more expensive, as well as low gas prices and a mild winter, meaning fewer people used heating in their homes. Agora’s analysis revealed that 2020 was the first time more electricity was generated from wind power than from coal.

According to analysis, renewable energies produced 46,2 percent of the electricity used in Germany in 2020; 3,8 percent more than in 2019. If the coronavirus crisis hadn’t affected the country in the way it has, and without the lower demand for electricity, renewable energies would have only accounted for 44,6 percent of electricity in Germany in 2020. Overall, wind power was responsible for two-thirds of the increase in renewable energies, with solar power making up the remaining third.

William Nehra


William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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