London — Germany's CO2 emissions increased by 1.2% or almost 5 million mt in the first half of 2017 to 428 million mt, making it less likely for Germany to achieve its national climate targets by 2020 without additional action, think-tank Agora Energiewende said Monday based on first statistics for energy usage in H1 2017.
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The transport sector accounted for the lion's share of the increase -- up 5 million mt on the year driven by gains for petrol (up 2.5%), diesel (6.5%) and kerosene (8%), the influential Berlin-based think-tank said.
Within the power generation sector, a 5.1 million mt drop from reduced coal usage was offset by a 2.3 million mt gain for lignite as well as 2.9 million mt gain for natural gas, it added.
Last year and according to the official figures from the German environment agency UBA, emissions were up 0.4% on year at 905.5 million mt of CO2 equivalent, which is 27.6% less than in 1990.
Germany's government has introduced a national target to cut emissions by 40% over 1990 levels by 2020.
"The gap towards reaching the climate target of a 40% cut does not get smaller, but remains around 150 million mt," Agora Energiewende director Patrick Graichen said.
"In order to achieve this target, which was confirmed by Chancellor Angela Merkel in her summer interview, a fast-action climate change program is needed immediately after the elections with additional measures for the power, heat and transport sectors," the Agora chief, whose predecessor at the think-tank Rainer Baake has been responsible for Germany's energy policy over this legislative period as state secretary for energy.
"This data shows how important it is to extend a consequent climate policy to the transport sector. If comprehensive changes to transport do not materialize during the next legislative period, Germany will not reach its ambitious climate target," the statement by Agora, which recently added a new unit monitoring the "Verkehrswend" (transformation of the transport sector) said.
Campaigning ahead of German elections in September has brought the issue of a possible carbon floor price into sharp relief, but with developments in the transport sector amid the ongoing diesel scandal getting more attention from media and politicians.
Chancellor Merkel's CDU/CSU party continues to lead in the polls but is unlikely to achieve a clear majority with the liberal FDP and the Green Party are seen as possible alternative to the current Grand Coalition with the Social-Democrats.
For the power sector and despite renewables accounting for over 35% of the power mix, CO2 emissions have remained stubbornly high due to continued coal burn.
Last year, German emissions from power generation dropped just 1% to 332 million mt, the UBA data shows.
Projections indicate that Germany will fall short of the 272 million mt/CO2 target by 2020, with the current trajectory delivering a cut of just over 30% on 1990 levels, German renewable lobby BEE said in July.
--Andreas Franke, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Maurice Geller, email@example.com