Germany’s CO2 emissions fall to lowest level in seven decades

BERLIN (AP) — Carbon dioxide emissions in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, fell to their lowest level in seven decades as coal use unexpectedly fell in 2023 and economic pressures hit industry output. energy-intensive, according to a published study. Thursday.

Germany intends reduce your emissions to net zero emissions by 2045 and is working to increase the use of solar and wind energy and other renewable sources.

Think tank Agora Energiewende said its preliminary calculations show Germany emitted 673 million metric tons of CO2 last year, a decrease of 73 million metric tons compared to 2022 and the lowest level since the 1950s. This figure was 46% lower than the country’s emissions in 1990.

On Tuesday, Germany’s Federal Network Agency said renewable energy sources accounted for more than half of the country’s energy production in 2023. Renewables rose to 56% of energy production, from 47.4 % in 2022. At the same time, electricity production using black coal fell from 12.8% to 8.9%, and electricity fueled by lignite fell from 21% to 17.4%.

Germany turned off its last three nuclear power plants in April, a long-planned move, although some advocated a rethink after energy prices skyrocketed due to the war in Ukraine. Nuclear energy accounted for 1.5% of energy production in 2023, up from 6.7% the previous year.

More than half of last year’s emissions reduction — about 44 million metric tons — was due to coal-fired electricity production falling to its lowest level since the 1960s, Agora said. This, in turn, was due to a drop in electricity demand and increased imports from neighboring countries, about half of which came from renewable energy sources.

In addition, industry emissions fell sharply as energy-intensive companies reduced production as a result of economic weakness and international crises, the think tank said.

Germany, the worst performer important developed economy In recent months, has been heavy due to high energy prices, global economic weakness and interest rate increases to combat inflation. The country is home to many energy-intensive businesses, including the chemical and metallurgical industries.

Agora calculated that only about 15% of last year’s emissions savings constitute “permanent emissions reductions resulting from additional renewable energy capacity, efficiency gains and the switch to fuels that produce less CO2 or other climate-friendly alternatives.” He said “the majority of emissions cuts in 2023 are not sustainable from an industrial or climate policy perspective.”

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Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck, a member of the green environmental party and also vice chancellor, said Germany has laid the foundation for the future growth of renewable energy by moving to expand solar and wind generation.

“We are making visible progress on the path towards a climate-neutral electricity supply,” he said.

As for the industry, “it is good that investments are being made in climate production and energy efficiency,” he said in a statement. But “it is not good that Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the price crisis that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin wanted are causing production declines.”

Habeck pointed out Government efforts to reduce electricity prices. for the industry.

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