The coronavirus crisis and an unseasonably mild winter in Europe have combined to help Germany reach its 2020 climate target, Agora Energiewende said.
Mild temperatures accompanied by strong winter storms have led to rising production levels from wind power farms amid a lower energy consumption for heating, the Berlin-based think-tank explained.
On top of that, the coronavirus crisis from mid-March on is likely to drive down emissions in the transport sector, as well as industry demand for power and natural gas.
“We currently expect emissions to decline by 40 to 45% [from 1990s levels],” Agora Energiewende director Patrick Graichen said.
Germany earlier this year was still expected to miss its target of a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. According to the country’s environmental protection agency (UBA), by the end of 2019 emissions had fallen by 35.7%, when compared to 1990’s levels.
UBA head Dirk Messner earlier this week said that, and the coronavirus effect, would bring Germany close to meeting its 2020 target.
Agora Energiewende chief Graichen said, however, that emissions could shoot up again after the coronavirus crisis is over, and warned of a possible reserve in regards to climate protective investments, such as renewables, in the wake of the pandemic.
“Growth packages now being drafted shouldn’t just combat the consequences of the corona[virus] recession, but must also help to make Germany more climate-friendly in the long run,” Graichen said.
Agora Energiewende expects a possible reduction of 50-120 million tonnes of CO2 in 2020 from the previous year – depending on the severity of the coronavirus crisis. The prediction is based on individual estimates for the energy, industry, transport, agriculture and housing sectors.