Renewable CO2 Reductions Contribute 10% to Germany’s Success

Germany has the best record of all EU15 countries that have promised to reduce CO2 emissions under the Kyoto protocol, with a reduction of 24.8% from 1990 to 2010.

Now the “Agentur für Erneuerbare Energien”, a public relations effort financed by the German government and the renewable energy industry, has published some new numbers for 2011.

According to their figures, in 2011 renewable energy has avoided 130 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in Germany.

That’s more than 10% of the 1990 value of 1246.1 tonnes. Without renewable energy, it would have been impossible to lead the EU15  countries in CO2 reductions, while at the same time leading the world in exports.

In contrast, the United States has seen CO2 emissions fall by about 7.5% in the first three months of 2012 because of a switch from coal to gas. But they still are higher than 1990, so the United States loses out by far to Germany in CO2 reductions.

Very likely, Germany has the best reduction record of any large developed country. And renewable energy is absolutely vital to that success.

Two thirds of that come from the electricity sector. That shows that while the feed-in tariff system may not have been the cheapest way to achieve success, it certainly has been moving things in the right direction.

And that’s with only 20% of electricity coming from renewable last year. This year that is up to 25%, and the goal of 35% for 2020 will be reached in 2014 at that exponential pace of growth.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003,

4 thoughts on “Renewable CO2 Reductions Contribute 10% to Germany’s Success

  1. For the naysayers of course it’s also vitally important to note that Germany is doing this while maintaining a vibrant/strong economy.


    1. Yes. I mentioned only that Germany leads the world in exports as well in the post above. Still haven’t got around to looking for more numbers on GDP and CO2 developments.

      Bonus fun fact: If Australia can get 130 million tons reduction from renewable as well (Australia has much better solar resources and solar has gone way down in price because of the Germans paying for the first toughest price reductions), that would get emissions down one third from the 419 million tons reported at CO2 scorecard for 2009.


  2. If you look at the total emissions per head of population, you will see that Germany and Denmark have gone down from respectively 15 and 12.4 tonnes CO2 per head to 11.4 and 11.1.
    France and Sweden, using nuclear, have gone from 8.7 and 7.9 tonnes per capita to 8.1 and 7.2. They’ve had far lower emissions since the late seventies , and they’re still much lower.
    France has nearly eighty percent nuclear electricity, and Sweden over forty percent. I’ll believe Germany can get to forty percent wind and solar when I see it, not before.


  3. My post is not about nuclear energy. I am well aware of the fact that nuclear energy is a low carbon energy source. I was posting about the contribution renewable energy made to reducing CO2 emissions.
    You won’t have to wait long for Germany getting 40% renewable. The goal of 35% for 2020 will be achieved much earlier, and I expect more than 40% in 2020.
    In contrast, Germany won’t get back on a nuclear course any time soon. It would be rather unrealistic to hope for the nuclear bailout in that particular country.


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