Report accents Germany's pioneering role in climate protection

Germany's Federal Statistics office recently published a report evaluating how far the nation has come to meeting its sustainable development targets. Marks are high: greenhouse gas emissions targets for 2010 were met in 2008 and the share of renewable energy in overall energy consumption was already over the half-way mark for the 2020 target. The report covered 21 different sectors.

German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen was pleased that developments, in particular in two important environment policy fields, point in the right direction:"The continuing decrease of greenhouse gas emissions shows that Germany plays a pioneering role in climate protection.”

Enlarge image (© picture-alliance/dpa) The 2002 National Sustainability Strategy had defined sustainable development targets for 21 different sectors, twelve of which have a direct environment link. Every two years, the Federal Statistical Office reviews to what extent these targets have been reached. How successfully they have been reached is graded by assigning weather symbols for quick and easy recognition: "sunny", "slightly cloudy", "cloudy", "thunderstorm".

The continuous greenhouse gas emissions decrease is marked "sunny". The 2002 strategy target of a 21 percent reduction by 2010 compared with 1990 was already reached in 2008 with a reduction of 22.4 percent. In its coalition agreement, the German government agreed on a 40 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 compared with 1990.

On these positive results, Röttgen commented that, “the continuously increasing share of renewable energies in energy consumption shows that renewable energy sources are a driving force here. The more renewable energy we use, the larger the decrease in gases which are harmful to the climate".

As far as the share of renewable energies in energy consumption is concerned, the targets established in 2002 were reached long before the 2010 deadline. The report states that Germany also is on the right path with regard to the new targets for 2020: in 2009 the share of renewable energies in electricity consumption was 16.1 percent, the target is 30 percent.

In so-called primary energy consumption, which reflects the source of energy used for the generation of electricity, heat and fuel, renewable energies had a share of 8.9 percent in 2009 – the target for 2020 is 10 percent. Both areas were awarded the "sunny" symbol for positive developments.

Decoupling energy consumption from economic growth is on a good path and was awarded a "slightly cloudy" sign. The use of resources,  however, did not decrease as much as needed to reach the target of doubling productivity between 1994 and 2020. Up to 2008, there was only an increase of 39.6 percent. Despite the positive trend, the Federal Statistical Office awarded a "cloudy" symbol to this development. 

For the complete 2010 Indicator Report (German only)

Sustainability Report

Rows of mirrors in a parabolic trough power plant by Solar Millenium