Reasons and perspectives for emission reductions in Germany and the UK
Presentation held at the 25th Annual IAEE International Conference. University of Aberdeen, 26-29 June 2002
This paper analyses the causes for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by more than 18 % in Germany and by about 12 % in the UK between 1990 and 2000. It further investigates the prospects for both countries to fulfil their Kyoto target in the "first commitment period" and for potential stricter commitments thereafter. The main findings indicate that, in both countries, in the past decade, policy efforts accounted for more than 50 % of the reduction of the six Kyoto-gases, and for about 40 % of the reduction of Co2 emissions compared to "business as usual" development. Thus, in contrast to recent claims by US officials, achieved emission reductions in Germany and the UK in the 1990s are not predominantly due to special circumstances like the breakdown and restructuring of East Germany after reunification (wallfall profits), and the fuel switch from coal to natural gas following the liberalisation of the energy markets in the UK are on a reduction path to meet their Kyoto/EU-burden sharing targets for all greenhouse gases of - 21 % and - 12,5 %. respectively. Even without these special circumstances, Germany and the Uk would be on target to achieve the Kyoto target for the entire EU of - 8%. In terms of CO2 emissions, both countries have pledged to meet even stricter domestic policy targets: in Germany, the government has set the goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 25% between 1990 and 2005, and in the UK the objective is to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% between 1990 and 2010. Relying on sensivity analyses, the autors infer that both countries, and perhaps the Uk even more than Germany, might fail to meet their national targets unless additional policies, such as those recently announced in both countries could become seller states under an international emissions trading scheme, however this view misses the point that both countries intend to stay at the forefront of climate negotiations, while they are facing more difficult times with the end of nuclear power after 2010.