On track for climate protection – but the transport sector is lagging behind

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2024/04/03 - According to the Federal Environment Agency, Germany significantly reduced its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2023 with a decrease of 10.1 percent – corresponding to 76 million tons of GHG – compared to the previous year. This was the most significant reduction since 1990. This success is primarily due to the increasing share of renewable energies and the decline in the use of fossil fuels. Particularly the energy and industrial sectors have recorded significant emissions reductions. However, despite this positive development, there are still major challenges in the transportation sector. Emissions in this sector were significantly above the legally defined target, indicating an urgent need for action.

In transportation, approximately 146 million tons of CO2 equivalents were emitted in 2023. Thus, GHG emissions in the transportation sector were around 1.8 million tons (1.2 percent) below the 2022 value – but about 13 million tons over the permissible annual emissions amount of 133 million tons of CO2 equivalents for 2023. Last year, emissions had slightly increased. The modest emissions reduction in 2023 is driven mainly by the decreasing performance in road freight transport rather than by effective climate protection measures. Compared to 2022, car traffic in 2023 slightly increased. The newly registered electric vehicles in the car fleet have a slightly emission-reducing effect. Overall, transportation is the only sector that significantly misses its target and continues to move away from the legally defined goal trajectory.

Although the outlook for Germany’s 2030 climate goals is positive overall, the transportation sector remains a critical area. It has a cumulative reduction gap of 180 million tons of CO2 equivalents by 2030.