I wrote a couple of months ago why I thought Germany’s national target for GHG emissions in 2020 is no longer feasible. When I wrote this it appeared that Germany was watering down plans to cut 22 million tonnes of CO2 from coal power plants by implementing new regulations and levies.
The watering down then was from 22 million tonnes to 16 million tonnes. But it now appears to have been watered down even further.
According to Bloomberg:
Instead of imposing the levy, Germany will put 2.7 gigawatts of lignite-fired plants into a power-capacity reserve from 2017, and close them after four years. The reserve will enable the plants to operate when supplies are short, although the facilities won’t be allowed to sell power on the market.
That would lead to a reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions of 11 million metric tons a year, the Economy Ministry estimated. The lignite industry agreed to cut an additional 1.5 million tons a year from 2018 in a way that still needs to be negotiated. The previous plan, promoted by Gabriel, would have cut at least 16 million tons of emissions through a levy that was designed to make burning coal less profitable.
Gabriel said measures to boost energy efficiency will save a further 11 million tons of carbon. Total savings of about 22 million tons represent about 2.8 percent of Germany’s annual carbon emissions, according to BP Plc data.
Germany needs to reduce its emissions by around 160 million tonnes of CO2eq by 2020. The plan to reduce the emissions from coal power plants by 22 million tonnes did’t even get them one fifth of the way there. These new cuts, of around half of the originally proposed level, don’t even get them one tenth of the way there.
We do have this 11 million tons of carbon (dioxide, I presume) which will be saved by energy efficiency. But again, this only gets Germany one tenth of the way there. If Germany has a credible plan to cut 160 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020, it is not forthcoming.
Clearly, Germany will abandon its national emissions target. The only question is when this will be acknowledged publicly, as Gabriel has apparently done privately.