How Can Germany Reach its 40% Climate Mitigation Target in 2020? – Recommendations for Additional Measures


The German government intends to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels) – a goal that the newly elected Federal Government reaffirmed in its coalition agreement. On behalf of the European Climate Foundation, Ecologic examined to what extent the Energy and Climate Program adopted in 2007 can achieve this 40% cut. The analysis shows that even though the programme was implemented, for the most part, significant gaps remain. To close the remaining gaps, the study proposes additional legislative measures. It is now available online.

A review of the implementation of the federal government’s Integrated Energy and Climate Program (IEKP) shows that – under realistic assumptions – the IEKP can achieve a greenhouse gas reduction of 32-34% compared to 1990 levels by 2020. Thus, a gap of 70-90 million tons of CO2eq remains with respect to the federal government’s 40% reduction goal.

In order to close this gap, additional measures are necessary which improve or complement existing IEKP measures. The main recommendations of this preliminary study include:

  • measures to increase energy efficiency in the industry, commerce, trade and services sectors;
  • smart metering and variable electricity rates;
  • promotion of heating systems based on renewable energies in the existing building stock, and
  • a reform of company car taxation.

With these selected measures in force, an estimated 33-45 million tons of CO2eq could be saved by 2020. Based on the conservative estimate that the IEKP measures currently in place could deliver savings of 90 million tons of CO2eq, even the additional measures proposed in this study would leave a gap of 47-55 million tons CO2eq compared to the 40% target. This gap could be closed with further supplemental measures proposed in other studies.

The study [pdf, 597 KB, German] is available for download.

Katharina Umpfenbach
Project ID
climate policy, renewable energy, energy efficiency

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