Germany released a total of 868.7 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in 2018, a decrease of 38 million tons or 4.2 percent compared to the previous year, preliminary figures published by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) on Tuesday showed.
“In 2018, Germany produced significantly more energy from wind and sun and at the same time burned less coal, oil and gas,” said German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze.
The decline in GHG emissions was partly due to weather and other special effects, but it also showed “that climate protection measures such as the expansion of green electricity, the phasing out of coal and emissions trading are having an effect,” said Schulze.
According to the UBA, Germany had reduced its emissions by 30.6 percent in 2018 compared to 1990. The government has set the overall target of reducing GHG emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030.
UBA President Maria Krautzberger said “the figures show how important renewable energies are for climate protection. In 2018, renewable energies avoided around 184 million tons of CO2 equivalent.”
Out of the total 38 million metric tons of CO2 reduced, the energy sector accounted for around 14 million metric tons.
The summer drought in 2018 was part of the reason that coal recorded the sharpest decline in emissions in the energy sector. Low water levels on the rivers led to lower transport capacities and thus to higher coal prices.