Germany Likely to Miss Emissions Target for 2020

German environment minister Svenja Schulze says the country will have to try harder to hit its 2030 goal.

Berlin Illuminated Skyline
Getty ImagesAndreas Rentz

German environment minister Svenja Schulze has for 2020. Germany is one of the leading countries combating climate change, which makes its inability to curtail its own emissions troubling.

As part of the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, each signatory country is asked to set ambitious goals for reducing emissions in that country, with the aim of limiting global warming to 2℃ or less by the end of the century. One of Germany’s goals was to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.

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In a , environment minister Svenja Schulze announced that Germany would fall short of that goal. “It's painful for me to have to tell you that we will miss the targets we've set for ourselves for 2020,” said Schulze to the delegates, who were gathered in preparation for a summit in December.

Schulze also stated that her country would recommit to its 2030 goal of a 50 percent reduction in emissions, and that every sector would have to make emissions cuts to meet that goal. In particular, Schulze focused on the transportation sector for not pulling its weight. Emissions from that sector have remained flat since 1990, and “the least has happened there,” said Schulze.

Many countries in Europe have struggled with reducing emissions from vehicles. Approximately in 2015, compared with . Europe has also struggled to electrify its trucking fleet, even going so far as to build an ‘electric road’ that can provide power to trucks driving on it.

While the ultimate goal of the Paris Agreement is to keep warming below 2℃, the ideal would be to halt warming at or below 1.5℃. But time is running out to meet that more ambitious goal, and this announcement from Germany doesn’t help the problem. Our only hope at this point might be tech that doesn’t even exist yet.

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