Biennial Report: Reaching 2030 Targets Unlikely Without a Paradigm Shift

Report on past developments in greenhouse gas emissions, trends in annual emission levels and the effectiveness of measures in accordance with § 12 (4) of the Federal Climate Change Act.

In time for the 27th UN Climate Change Conference COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt (November 6-18, 2022), the German Council of Experts on Climate Change presents its biennial report for the first time. Following its legal mandate, the independent expert council examines the developments of greenhouse gas emissions to date, corresponding trends in emission levels and the effectiveness of measures for reaching targets under the Federal Climate Change Act.  

“We see that a nearly continuous increase of activities in all sectors, including rebound effects, resulted in smaller emissions reductions than would have been technically achievable,” says Chairman Hans-Martin Henning. “So, efficiency gains have been counteracted by, for example, overall economic growth, larger living spaces or increased transportation levels.”   

“The emission reduction rates achieved so far are far from sufficient to meet the climate protection targets for 2030 – neither in total nor for individual sectors,” Council member Thomas Heimer states, adding, “The annual reduction of emissions would have to double compared to the historical development of the last 10 years. In the industrial sector, about a 10-fold and in the transportation sector, even a 14-fold increase of the average reduction amount per year would be necessary.” 

According to the two-year report, the current expansion rate of solar and wind power plants, heat pumps and electromobility will be highly insufficient to achieve the government’s respective expansion targets. To the same extent, it is apparent that a reduction of the fossil capital stock in the building or transport sector, for instance, regarding oil and gas heating systems or fossil fuel cars, would be necessary to achieve climate targets. “Should we not succeed in reversing the trend toward a rapid transformation of the capital stock, it will only be possible to achieve climate targets if other levers, such as the development of activities together with a corresponding change in consumer behavior, are also addressed more strongly,” says Vice Chair Brigitte Knopf.