German GHG emissions fell by 4.5% in 2018 (-4.8% for CO2 emissions)

5 Apr 2019

According to the German Environment Ministry (Umweltbundesamt, UBA), German greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contracted by 4.5% (-41 MtCO2eq) in 2018 to 869 MtCO2eq, as CO2 emissions decreased by 4.8% (-38 Mt) to 760 MtCO2eq. This reduction was mainly driven by higher temperatures during 2018 and by a declining use of fossil fuels in the energy mix: energy related emissions dropped by 5% to 710 Mt, as emissions from coal fell by nearly 11% (-13 Mt), those from lignite by 2.2% (-3.6 Mt) and those from oil by 4.9% (-13 Mt). Coal-fired capacity closures (around 1.5 GW) and higher coal prices contributed to this significant decline, as well as the steady development in renewable power capacities. In 2018, renewables avoided around 184 MtCO2eq, including almost 75 MtCO2eq from wind power. 

CO2 emissions from the residential and small consumers sectors fell by nearly 11% (-15 Mt), as the milder weather cut heating oil consumption. CO2 emissions also declined in the transport sector (-2.9%, i.e. -5 Mt), as fuel prices increased significantly during the year. Industrial CO2 emissions fell by 2.8% (-4 Mt), with different trends (declining trend for steel, chemicals and automotive, increasing trend for mechanical engineering and pharmaceutical). GHG emissions from agriculture contracted by 4.1% (-2.7 MtCO2eq), due to decreasing animal number and fertiliser use.

Since 1990, Germany has reduced annual emissions by nearly 31%. Emissions should be reduced by 55% by 2030 to comply with the Paris Agreement.

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