London — Germany recorded total emissions of 904.7 million mt of CO2 equivalent in 2017, which is 0.5% or 4.7 million mt less than in 2016, the German environment agency UBA said Tuesday in a first estimate.
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German emissions are down 27.7% from 1990 levels, lagging behind the national target of a 40% cut by 2020.
The greatest reductions in 2017 were again achieved in the energy industry, with German power plants and energy utilities reducing their CO2 emissions covered under the European Emissions Trading scheme (ETS) by 4.1% or 13.7 million mt on year to 318.5 million tons of CO2 equivalent in 2017, it said.
Emissions in the transport sector increased by 2.3% on year to 171 million mt, the UBA said, with transport emissions above 1990 levels.
Industry emissions were up by 2.5% at 193 million mt due to strong economic performance with GDP up by a similar amount, it added.
This data set is based on calculations which the agency has reported to the European Commission ahead of the once-a-year verified data to be published April 3, it said.
A more detailed breakdown will be published in May with 51% of German emissions covered by the ETS in 2016, it added.
Political background to the data is Germany's slow progress in achieving its national climate targets in 2020.
Coalitions negotiations between Chancellor Angela Merkel's Conservatives and the Green Party failed last November partly on this issue with the new government virtually giving up on achieving the 40% cut over 1990 levels by 2020 instead focusing on making the 2030 targets legally binding.
New environment minister Svenja Schulze from the Social Democrats (SPD) plans to focus on reducing transport emissions in particular, with both a climate-change and clean air challenge after the diesel emissions scandal.
Energy lobby group BDEW underlined the efforts already made by the energy industry to reduce carbon emissions, which are down 32% from 1990 levels with further coal plant closures planned.
In addition, the BDEW called for an extension of CO2 pricing to the transport, heating and agricultural sector.
EU carbon dioxide allowance prices under the EU Emissions Trading System have jumped almost 70% so far this year to trade Wednesday above Eur14/mt for the first time in over six years on expectations of tighter supply due to the market stability reserve reforms from 2019. Germany's is Europe's biggest emitter and accounts for almost a third of emissions covered under the ETS.