Germany is likely to miss the European Union (EU)’s binding climate policy goals for 2020, the German Environment Ministry said Thursday.
The ministry based its pessimistic forecast on worse-than-expected recent data of domestic CO2 emissions from traffic, agriculture and heating.
Unlike power plants and large industrial facilities on which the EU has imposed uniform limits, the emissions goals for these three sectors are individually tailored to each country.
Germany has been tasked with reducing its CO2 emissions by 14 percent in 2020, a target that seemed reachable, and even surpassable, until recently as it had accumulated excess emissions rights.
Yet an unexpected spike in traffic-related emissions will consume all outstanding emissions rights by the end of 2018.
Under the existing EU system, Berlin will need to acquire emissions rights from other member states with a surplus, like several EU members in East Europe.
The Environment Ministry is preparing to acquire emission rights from other member states who have a surplus, a spokesperson told the press in Berlin.
German officials said Wednesday that the cost for additionally-required emissions rights would be covered out of the ministerial budget of the sectors most responsible for the higher CO2 output, such as the Ministry of Transport.
The German admission constituted a worrying sign and would result in a loss of Berlin’s international credibility on climate change action, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said Wednesday.
If both national and EU goals were missed, “rich Germany would become the worst-performing member of the EU on climate policy,” it said.