Germany’s Federal Ministry of Environment (UBA) has released its latest annual Report of Indicators: DATA ON THE ENVIRONMENT 2017, which is designed to provide “a comprehensive overview of the environment’s status”.
Today’s post looks mainly at the climate and energy part of the report. One thing we can conclude from it: Germany is failing horribly to reach its emissions targets, as the following chart in the report shows:
German equivalent Co2 emissions fell from 1,251 million tonnes in 1990 to 906 million tonnes in 2016. However, there has not been reductions in 8 years. Source: UBA
Not surprisingly the UBA is in total dissatisfied with Germany’s progress on many environmental fronts, and the report reads like a thinly veiled anti-industry, anti-population growth manifesto. It sees major challenges in “climate change, the nitrogen problem, diminishing biodiversity, consumption of resources or the terrible ecological condition of our lakes and rivers, and including plastic in the oceans and seas”.
On climate change it summarizes:
Climate change is now all too obvious: 2016 was the warmest since measurements began. The 20 warmest years since 1850 have all occurred since 1990. The German federal government has set the target of reducing greenhouse gases 40% by 2020 compared to 1990. According to the latest numbers they have, however, risen over the past year. A cold winter and the rise of emissions from transportation were the cause. The current development doesn’t suffice for reaching the target.”
Ironically Germany’s failure to be on course to meet it’s anti-warming targets gets blamed in part on “a cold winter”, the report claims.
Also Germany’s consumption of primary energy also has not gone down since 2008, as the following chart shows:
Obviously, draconian measures will have to be taken if the country wants to hit its 2020 target.
It’s important to note that the first reductions are rather easy, as it simply entails avoiding wasting energy. But from now on it is going to require squeezing it out through expensive technical means and painful sacrifice.
And with Donald Trump dumping Paris Accord, a number of countries will probably have little incentive to cut back their energy consumption, and thus will only make it even harder for go-it-alone countries.
There is one success that Germany’s UBA can boast: Revenue pouring into state coffers from environmental taxes, fees and surcharges almost hit a new all-time record, reaching 58.2 billion euros (i.e. about 750 euros for each and every citizen).
Source: German Federal Statistics Office (2016)
So profitable can environmental protection be for the state.