BERLIN—Germany is missing its European climate targets and will have to pay for rights to emit greenhouse gases due to polluting vehicles, farms and buildings, the government said Wednesday, an embarrassing admission for Chancellor Angela Merkel who had once put energy transformation at the forefront of her policies.
Germany will have to purchase greenhouse gas emissions allowances for the years 2019 and 2020 from other European Union members, an environmental ministry spokesman said.
“The environment ministry is preparing itself to purchase emission allowances from countries that have surpluses in the coming years,” a spokesman said.
The extent of the shortfall in the years 2019 and 2020 will only be known two years after these periods and the permits will then be purchased bilaterally from an EU-country at a yet to be determined price at the expense of German taxpayers, he said.
As part of its commitment to prevent global warming under last year’s Paris agreement, the European Union has pledged to curb global warming by accelerating reductions in carbon discharges not only for industry but also as a second pillar for nonaviation transport, agriculture, waste, buildings and forestry, among others.
As part of this second pillar, Germany’s target was to cut CO2 emission by 14% by 2020 compared with the 2005 levels. And this goal, according to the ministry, won’t be met.
The admission comes after Germany last autumn already conceded it will miss its national goal to cut overall carbon emissions by 40% by 2020, compared with 1990.
A report from the European Commission from November highlighted that emissions from the EU as a whole would remain below the 2020 target, with 21 EU Member States expected to keep or reduce their emissions below their national targets by 2020.
Germany, however, was identified as one country that needed to enhance its efforts immediately to meet its 2020 targets, along with Austria, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg and Malta.
Germany’s failure to meet the targets comes as it continues to have a high number of high polluting and heavy gas-consuming cars on its motorways and roads as well as intensive livestock farming, which is also believed to increase greenhouse gas emissions.