German Greenhouse Gas Emissions Fell 4.6% In 2014, New Data Shows

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Official figures released by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency show that the country’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 4.6 percent in 2014 to the equivalent of 901.9 million metric tons of CO2 in an apparent return to the long-term trend following an uptick in 2013.

image00The greatest reductions were achieved in electricity generation, where emissions fell by the equivalent of 20.9 million tons of CO2 despite continued growth in electricity exports. While the emissions data relates to 2014, further reductions can perhaps be expected in electricity generation in 2015 due to record generation from renewable sources.

However, it’s not all good news as emissions from the agricultural sector rose by 2.2 percent, which the Federal Environment Agency attributes to increased liming and fertilizer use and growth in dairy livestock. 20.8 million tons of reductions have been attributed to the relatively mild weather in 2014, with German households burning less oil and gas for heating.

Perhaps most disappointing, however, is the 2.2 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions from transport. Despite Germany’s remarkable prowess in car production – dodgy emissions software aside – the country is struggling to recreate the momentum it has achieved in renewable electricity in the introduction of electric cars. Officially, the government aims to have 1 million electric vehicles registered by 2020 – a target that is looking increasingly utopian with just 19,000 pure EVs currently registered in the country.

A debate about whether to introduce government subsidies for e-car purchases has been simmering in the country in recent weeks, with proponents regarding the idea as a much-needed kickstarter and detractors arguing that otherwise financially successful businesses should not be given government handouts. Today the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reports that any decision has been postponed until March after high-level talks with car manufacturers failed to produce an agreement.

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