Climate Protection

The Risk of Utopian Energy Goals

Lowering CO2 emissions from cars and trucks remains a sore spot in Germany.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany will fail to meet its ambitious climate-protection goals without a greater focus on transport and heating.

  • Facts


    • In 2014, electricity generated by wind, solar and biomass plants covered about 26 percent of total demand for electricity in Germany.
    • The German government established a target of an 80-to-95-percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 from 1990 levels.
    • CO2 emissions in the electricity sector have already been reduced by 60 percent, compared to 45 percent in the heating sector and 35 percent in transport.
  • Audio


  • Pdf

Germany keeps setting new records in its transition toward renewable energy, known as the Energiewende.

In December, the country’s wind turbines generated a record 8.9 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, more than the amount of energy produced by all eight nuclear power plants still in operation. And this record is likely to be broken in 2015, when major offshore wind farms in the North Sea are connected to the grid.

Germany is unquestionably making enormous strides in expanding renewable energy. Last year, electricity generated by wind, solar and biomass plants covered about 26 percent of total demand – more than lignite, coal, nuclear and natural gas power plants combined.

But there is still no reason for excessive euphoria. Despite all its efforts, Germany will fall short of its own climate protection goals.

If no additional measures are taken, emissions of climate-damaging CO2 will decline by only 50 percent by 2050, compared with the benchmark year, 1990 – that is significantly less than the federal government’s target of 80 to 95 percent, according to a report by consulting firm PwC, to be presented on Tuesday at the Handelsblatt energy conference in Berlin.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.