Germany reduced the amount of greenhouse gasses it emitted by 739 million tons – or 8.7 percent – last year compared to 2019. That’s according to the German Environment Agency UBA.
The figures represent the largest annual decline since German re-unification in 1990. The UBA says that around a third of the reduction can be attributed to coronavirus restrictions. But even more so the decline reflects long-term trends and new environmental standards coming into force.
“Of course, the pandemic had an effect in this extraordinary year, especially in the transportation sector,” said German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze in a statement. “But it’s important to me that structural changes are showing results as we reorient our economy toward climate neutrality.”
Germany and the EU are aiming to become greenhouse gas neutral by 2050. Germany Trade & Invest cleantech industry expert Robert Compton says that the 2020 figures show that the country is moving in that direction.
“Despite the effects of corona, the vast majority of the emissions reductions last year came from the energy sector,” Compton explains. “This shows that higher CO2 prices from the reformed EU emissions trading system combined with cheap global gas prices are pushing coal out of the mix. At the same time, Germany has gotten out the checkbook and launched some really big programs – 7 billion euros for building up a hydrogen value chain, 6 billion euros in funding for energy efficiency in buildings, massive subsidies for EVs and the associated infrastructure – and the list goes on. This is a really interesting time for foreign cleantech companies looking to get in ahead of the wave in Germany.”