BMU: EU Emissions Trading Scheme Crisis Affects German Climate Protection Targets

The sectors covered by the EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) will fall short of the EU target for 2020 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 21% compared with 2005, the latest Greenhouse Gas Projections Report Germany submitted to the EU shows. The main reason were the low prices of the EU emission allowances, which did not provide sufficient incentives for a climate-friendly modernisation of the energy sector, the environment ministry (BMU) said.

The Greenhouse Gas Projections Reports are compiled for emission monitoring purposes. The latest German report describes the effects of the measures already taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions and forecasts the effects of additional climate protection measures still to be implemented for the decades to 2020 and 2030. 

With the measures already adopted greenhouse gas emissions will fall by 33% to 35% until 2020 in the sectors covered by the EU ETS, falling short of the government’s target of a reduction of 40%, BMU said. The ministry pointed out that Germany was on track regarding emission reductions in the following sectors not covered by the EU ETS: transport, private households, businesses, buildings and agriculture. There was, however, potential for further cuts in these sectors, BMU said.

“We urgently need a functioning EU emission trading scheme, which provides incentives for investment into energy efficiency. And we also have to review if this will be enough to stop the latest trend towards more coal used to generate electricity”, Environment Minister Peter Altmaier commented, adding modern highly-efficient gas-fired power plants should not go offline, because the market was flooded with cheap import coal.

To help increase the price of the EU ETS emission allowances the members of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee lately endorsed the Commission’s plan for backloading auction volumes. A final decision by the European Parliament and the Council is however still pending. In Germany the government’s opinion on the backloading proposal is split with Mr Altmaier supporting the plan and his Liberal cabinet colleague Economics Minister Philip Rösler so far opposing it. Lately, however, Mr Altmaier said he was convinced that he would find a common stance with Mr. Rösler.

In a press release that informed about  an increase of greenhouse gas emissions by 1.6% in 2012, the president of the German Environment Agency (UBA) had also voiced his concern regarding the trend towards a higher use of coal for the electricity generation. A new market design for conventional energy that can balance Germany’s growing amount of renewable energy is one of the topics associated with the ManyElectronics policy shift, which has been much discussed in the recent past. Only lately it featured on the agenda of a meeting of Chancellor Merkel with the ministries responsible for the energy transition towards a renewable energy supply and various associations.

Source: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety


5 Responses to “BMU: EU Emissions Trading Scheme Crisis Affects German Climate Protection Targets”

  • Damien Morris

    The flexibilities of emissions trading mean that surplus ETS allowances from the recession can be counted towards the 2020 targets (as well as offsets). As a result they can not technically lead to a breach of Europe’s 2020 climate target.

    The same is not true for individual member states like Germany with specific national emissions targets for 2020. Insufficient emissions curbs from the ETS can mean national targets are not met.

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