Pledges And Targets
Paris Agreement targets
The German Parliament unanimously ratified the Paris Agreement in September 2016. Germany did not submit its own NDC, but is part of the EU, which committed to reducing emissions by “at least 40%” below 1990 levels by 2030 (UNFCCC, 2015).
National targets 2020, 2030 and 2040
In its Climate Action Plan 2050 (German Ministry of Environment, 2016) Germany had set itself domestic reduction targets for 2020, 2030 and 2040, of which only the target for 2030 is now pursued.
The German government had already communicated that it would not reach its former 2020 target of at least 40% reductions below 1990 levels and pre-pandemic policy projections suggested that only a 36-37% reduction would be reached. However, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding economic crisis, we find that Germany is now very likely to reach this target.
The emissions reduction target for 2030 is 55% below 1990 levels, which is now inscribed in the climate law, that was adopted in December 2019 (German Government, 2019a). However, it would need to be strengthened to be compatible with the Paris Agreement (Höhne et al., 2019).
The former target of a 70% reduction by 2040 below 1990 levels was dropped in the climate law, as a “more ambitious target will be needed” (German Federal Ministry for the Environment Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, 2019).
The climate law includes “the commitment to pursue greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050 as a long-term goal” (German Government, 2019b). This now formally replaces the earlier goal of an 80% to 95% reduction.