PIK Statement on the German Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2021

03/15/2022 - Today, the Germany's Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) has released its greenhouse gas emissions report 2021 for Germany. Unlike global emissions, German emissions have not reached another record high, but have risen nonetheless.
PIK Statement on the German Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2021
Development and goals of greenhouse gas emissions in Germany (Source: German Federal Environment Agency, UBA)

 Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), Professor of Climate Economics at the Technical University in Berlin:

"Never before have renewables been so cheap globally - and never  before have global emissions been so high as in 2021. Now we see that in Germany, too, after the 2020 Corona dip, emissions have slightly risen. Worldwide, there's a comeback of coal because the prices for natural gas are outpacing prices for coal, already well before the war on Ukraine. The only remedy is an increasing price for CO2.

Because of the war in Ukraine, we should now drastically reduce the import of oil and gas from Putin. An embargo does not seem feasible at the moment. But a strong punitive levy on gas and oil imports could at least substantially reduce those imports and help become independent of Russian energy imports. We will have to use more coal in the short term, because the urgently needed expansion of renewables and hydrogen will only help us in the long term.

Under no circumstances, however, should the cap in EU emissions trading be relaxed. If this cap remains firm, using more coal will not increase emissions but increase the price of CO2 - which will spur investments in clean energies such as renewables and hydrogen. But of course this must come with a massive social compensation for low-income households. That whole package can help both our climate security and our energy security."


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