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Germany To Drop 2020 Climate Targets

November 17, 2014

By Paul Homewood




Since the Federal elections in Germany, earlier this year, there has been a running battle between Sigmar Gabriel, minister for economic affairs and energy, and Barbara Hendricks, the environmental minister.

Gabriel has been keen to drop CO2 targets, because of the damage they have been doing to the economy, while his colleague takes the opposite view. According to Der Spiegel, it is Gabriel who has won the battle.


Breitbart report:



Germany’s Vice Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, has indicated that the country will abandon its commitment to reducing CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2020, from a 1990 base level. In doing so he has won the ongoing clash with his own environmental minister Barbara Hendricks over energy policy, telling her that he will tolerate no further resistance to the change of direction, according to Der Speigel.

The target has been in doubt for some time, not least because Gabriel, a former environment minister himself and current minister for economic affairs and energy, is known to be supportive of the coal industry. According to the Environment Ministry, Germany would have to find a way of cutting emissions by between 62 and 100 million tonnes of CO2 every year for the next sixteen years in order to reach the target. Shutting down coal power stations would only contribute 40 million tonnes to that target.

"It’s clear that the [2020 CO2] target is no longer viable," Gabriel said, adding: "We cannot exit from coal power overnight." Earlier this year Gabriel told Spiegel: "It is an illusion to believe that Germany could simultaneously move away from both nuclear and coal energy".


The enormous task facing Germany in what it has to do to hit the 2020 target, a 40% cut from 1990 levels, is evident when looking at the progress to date.




To achieve the 2020 target, there will need to be a cut of 20% from 2013 levels.

Most of the reduction achieved to date occurred in the 1990’s, as a result of closure of much of the old East German heavy industry. No reduction has been achieved at all since 2009, and it is questionable just how much of the small reduction since 2007 has been due to the recession.

This is all despite the huge subsidies flung at renewable energy.

With a new generation of coal power stations coming on line, any further emission reductions look further away than ever. Nuclear is still providing 17% of Germany’s electricity output, according to the World Nuclear Association, and this will need to be replaced by 2022 at the latest, adding yet more pressure on the grid.


Regardless of who wins the political battle, Germany does not appear to have a cat in hell’s chance of getting anywhere near its target.

  1. November 17, 2014 7:47 pm

    Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    Paul Homewood picks up the story on new German energy policy realism. Meanwhile the UK govt. Conti ues to apply the madcap carbon floor price and jeopardize our energy supply.

  2. manicbeancounter permalink
    November 17, 2014 9:06 pm

    The figures do not stack up.
    The CDIAC figure for German emissions is 207 million tonnes of carbon.
    Follow the link above, open up “2014 Budget v1.0” spreadsheet, and on the “Global Carbon Budget” tab on row 2 you get the following statement.

    Note: 1 billion tonnes C = 1 petagram of carbon (10^15 gC) = 1 gigatonne C = 3.664 billion tonnes of CO2.

    So 207 mtC = 759 mtCO2.
    A 20% reduction over 16 years is 9.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year, not “between 62 and 100 million tonnes of CO2” as quoted above.

    However, a policy to cut emissions by 20% at the same time as replacing nuclear power with coal is still nonsense.

    • November 17, 2014 10:54 pm

      That puzzled me as well. Der Spiegel say the same.

      • manicbeancounter permalink
        November 17, 2014 11:28 pm

        My guess it is down to the German equivalent of a SPAD who wants to get out the headline, but does not check the maths.

      • November 18, 2014 10:57 am

        Breitbart also mention “16 yrs” taking us to 2030, which I cannot see in Der Spiegel.

        It may be someone has seen the 2030 target, but applied it to 2020.

  3. November 17, 2014 10:38 pm

    Pierre has updated story ..Merkel is sticking with the targets to trap her SPD coalition partners


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