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Germany Current situation

What is Germanyʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Emissions profile

Germany’s total GHG emissions (incl. LULUCF) decreased by 36% between 1990 and 2019.34 After a substantial COVID-19 pandemic-driven decrease in 2020, emissions increased again in 2021, reaching 39% below 1990 levels.

Electricity generation constituted the largest source of emissions with 31% share in 2020. Between 1990 and 2021 emissions from this sector decreased by 44%, resulting in a decreasing share.12 With a 22% share, industry was the second largest emitting sector. Transport sector contributed 19% of the overall emissions in 2021. After returning to 1990 levels in 2019, emissions from transport decreased significantly in 2020. They rose again in 2021 but were still 9% below 1990 levels.12

The policies and measures communicated in 2020 and early 2021 would result in emissions reduction of only 49% in 2030 and 67% in 2040, well below Germany’s own targets. This, however, does not reflect measures introduced or planned by the new government which took office in December 2021.13

1 BMU. Lesefassung des Bundes-Klimaschutzgesetzes 2021 mit markierten Änderungen zur Fassung von 2019. (2021).

2 Climate Action Tracker. Germany | Climate Action Tracker. (2020).

3 Climate Action Tracker. Germany’s proposed 2030 national target not yet 1.5˚C-compatible. (2021).

4 European Environment Agency. Trends and Projections in Europe 2020. (2020).

5 Agora Energiewende. Publication – Towards a Climate-Neutral Germany by 2045 (2021).

6 Deutscher Bundestag. Kohleausstiegsgesetz. 2020, 202 (2020).

7 Deutscher Bundestag. Gesetz für den Ausbau erneuerbarer Energien (ErneuerbareEnergien-Gesetz – EEG 2021). (2021).

8 Statistisches Bundesamt. Jährliche Erdgasimporte – Statistisches Bundesamt. (2020).

9 AG-Energiebilanzen. Strommix. (2021).

10 Handelsblattt. Ende der Windpark-Förderung: Gigantischer Rückbau der Windenergie. (2020).

11 Tagesschau. Energiewende in Deutschland: Der Windkraftausbau stockt massiv | (2021).

12 Umweltbundesamt. Previous year’s estimate of German greenhouse gas emissions for 2020. (2021).

13 European Environment Agency (EEA). Member States’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emission projections. (2021).

14 Eurostat. Complete energy balances. (2022).

15 Umweltbundesamt (UBA). Erneuerbare Energien in Zahlen. Umweltbundesamt (UBA) (2022).

16 Agora Energiewende. Die Energiewende im Corona-Jahr: Stand der Dinge 2020. (2021).

17 Eurostat. Complete energy balances. (2020).

19 Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschland (SPD), Bündnis 90/Die Grünen & Freien Demokraten (FDP). Mehr Fortschritt wagen – Bündnis für Freiheit, Gerechtigkeit und Nachhaltigkeit. 68 (2021).

20 German Government. Entwurf eines Ersten Gesetzes zur Änderung des Bundes-Klimaschutzgesetzes. (2021).

21 Deutscher Bundestag. Deutscher Bundestag – Bundestag verschärft das Klimaschutzgesetz. (2021).

22 Umweltbundesamt (UBA). Treibhausgas-Emissionen. Umweltbundesamt (UBA). (2022).

23 Umweltbundesamt (UBA). Energieverbrauch nach Energieträgern und Sektoren. Umweltbundesamt (UBA). (2022).

24 Umweltbundesamt (UBA). Entwicklung des Heizenergieverbrauchs (Brandenburg, 2002-2020). (2020).

25 Immoor, K. Green hydrogen for green steel made in Duisburg: STEAG and thyssenkrupp are planning joint hydrogen project. (2020).

26 thyssenkrupp. Klimastrategie von thyssenkrupp Steel Premium-Flachstahl, weniger von CO2. thyssenkrupp AG. (2021).

27 ACEA. Fuel types of new cars: battery electric 9.1%, hybrid 19.6% and petrol 40.0% market share full-year 2021. ACEA. (2022).

28 ACEA. Interactive map – CO2 emissions from new passenger cars in the EU, by country. ACEA. (2021).

29 Climate Analytics. Coal Phase Out Germany / Climate Analytics. (2020).

30 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available, thus we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches which developed countries will need to implement in order to counterbalance their remaining emissions and reach net zero GHG are not considered here due to data availability.

31 Benchmarks here provided are derived from the illustrative pathway CEMICS-1.5-CDR8_REMIND_1.7 (28 MtCO₂e) and the 25th percentile (47 MtCO₂e) of the analysis 1.5°C compatible pathways in this analysis, assessed by the IPCC SR1.5. See methodology section for more information.

32 Confirming previous analysis indicating that: “Germany needs to phase coal out of its electricity sector by 2030 to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement. This is earlier than the dates discussed so far by the Coal Commission, a body established to come up with a coal exit plan by the end of 2018.”29

33 According to the Carbon Contracts for Difference, investor in low carbon technology (e.g. low carbon steel) receives subsidy that amounts to the different between the cost of producing traditional product and the low carbon alternative. This amount is reduced by what the investor would have to pay in carbon price anyway, e.g. in the framework of the EU ETS.

34 Calculations based on new data from Umweltbundesamt (UBA):

35 This goal reflects the 55% emissions reduction goal. The new goal for the share of renewables is not yet clear.

Germanyʼs current GHG emissions


Displayed values

By sector

  • Power
  • Transport
  • Industry (energy use)
  • Buildings
  • Fugitive emissions
  • Other
  • Agriculture
  • Industry (processes)
  • Waste
Energy (84%)⟵ LULUCF negative emissions

By gas

  • CO₂
  • CH₄
  • N₂O
  • Other

Sectors by gas

Industry (processes)

Energy system

Oil and petroleum products constitute the largest source of energy in Germany, accounting for 35% of primary energy demand in 2020, followed by natural gas and coal at 26% and 16%, respectively. The share of renewable energy in the electricity sector increased steadily and reached 45% in 2020 in gross electricity generation before falling to 41% in 2021. Due to a much slower progress in the other sectors, renewables contributed less than 20% of gross primary energy demand in 2021.14,15

Increasing the share of renewable energy is the main driver for emissions reduction in the electricity sector.12,16 in the buildings sector, energy consumption in 2019 was at the same level as in 1990. This was mainly due to a switch from coal to natural gas in 1990s, which has resulted in years of emissions stagnation. Unchanged emissions levels in the transport sector between 1990 and 2019 reflect a very modest increase in the share of renewables in the transport sector, counterbalanced by an increase in energy consumption in this sector by almost 3%.17

The new German government which took office in December 2021 declared its willingness to bring the move coal phase-out date back from 2038 to 2030, however, this declaration still has not been enshrined in law.18 Against the background of the war in Ukraine and the high costs of fossil energy sources, in April 2022 the Minister for Economy and Climate presented its first package of measures that aims to accelerate the development of renewable energy sources.19 The measures are to be complemented by a new package of measures (‘Summer Package’) focusing on decarbonising the building sector. At the same time, German government is planning to build LNG ports to move away from Russian natural gas imports. This would result in an additional carbon lock-in, especially as the LNG ports would not be ready in time to mitigate the current energy crisis.

Targets and commitments

Economy-wide targets

Target type

Base year emissions target

National target

  • 2030 target: 65% below 1990 by 2030.1

Market mechanism

  • Germany industry and power sectors are part of the EU’s emissions trading scheme (EU ETS).
  • On 1 January 2021, Germany started national emissions trading scheme for transport and heating.1

Long-term target

  • The goal of climate neutrality by 2045 was announced by German government in May 2021.20

Sector coverage


Greenhouse gas coverage


Sectoral targets


  • To reflect the new emissions reduction goal, emissions from this sector need to decrease to 108 MtCO₂e/yr or 77% below 1990 levels by 2030.20
  • Increasing the share of renewable to 65% reflects the old emissions reduction goal and still needs to be updated.7,35


  • To reflect the new emissions reduction goal, emissions from this sector need to decrease to 56 MtCO₂e/yr or 36% below 1990 levels by 2030.20


  • To reflect the new emissions reduction goal, emissions from this sector need to decrease to 85 MtCO₂e/yr or 48% below 1990 levels by 2030.20


  • To reflect the new emissions reduction goal, emissions from this sector need to decrease to 67 MtCO₂e/yr or 68% below 1990 levels by 2030.20


  • To reflect the new emissions reduction goal, emissions from this sector need to decrease to 4 MtCO₂e/yr or 48% below 1990 levels.20


  • To reflect the new emissions reduction goal, emissions from this sector need to decrease to 56 MtCO₂e/yr or 36% below 1990 levels by 2030.20