Increasing emissions despite an ever increasing share of renewables

Posted: March 20, 2016 by oldbrew in Emissions, Energy

The road to hell is paved with supposedly good intentions.

Trust, yet verify

In an earlier post I made the remark that the 2015 emissions of Germany are considered to be higher compared to 2014. There were also an article on the Agora-energiewende-site that said something similar. In the meanwhile Green Budget Germany made an estimate for 2015 based on the energy consumption. The numbers don’t exactly match those I saw in the Greenpeace brochure, but the trend seems similar. I understand that those are estimations and there seems to be more than one estimation. According to the estimate, CO2-eq. emissions rose by 10 Mton (from 902 to 912 Mton) in 2015 compared to 2014:

Source: Clean Energy Wire, data from German Environment Agency (UBA) and Green Budget Germany Source: Clean Energy Wire, data from German Environment Agency (UBA) and Green Budget Germany

That should be food for thought for the many supporters of the energiewende. Germany invested heavily in the transition and the share of alternative energy went up incredibly. Yet even with that…

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  1. oldbrew says:

    When are they going to learn that part-time power creates more problems than it can ever solve?

  2. ivan says:

    Did they count the number of diesel generators companies are using to ensure they get reliable power?

  3. Ron Clutz says:

    Even with good measures of fuels consumption, estimating CO2 emissions is fraught with uncertainty. The base is +/- 5%, and goes much higher with less than excellent process controls. Assuming the best about the Germans, the recent variability in the graph occurs within the uncertain range of +/- 45 M tonnes.

    The CO2 emissions estimating protocol is here:

    This gem is buried in the notes of the above document:
    Note that the uncertainty of the global warming potential (GWP) for the six GHG Protocol gasses is assumed to be ± 35% for the 90% confidence interval (see Section 7.2).

  4. smamarver says:

    This is an interesting question: how much CO2 emissions is too much? But this is only a part of the main question: what caused climate change? Is it only emissions or is there more to it? I think that the ocean and our influence over the ocean plays a much more important role in this question than some of the scientists are ready to admit….

  5. Fanakapan says:

    Interesting chart.

    Not so long ago, the story was that Germany had an ‘Easy’ route to achieving the ‘Target’ simply because the elimination by modernisation of the dirty Lignite power producers in its former Ost Zone, would effectively get it close to the goal with little effort.

    The chart does not seem to back that story up ?

    However, I cant find too many tears to shed here, as with Germany being the ground zero of the Green/ Weltfreundlich idea which has grown out of all control, its rather amusing that they will be hoisted by their own petard 🙂

  6. oldbrew says:

    Germans are also paying out a fortune in solar power subsidies.

    Unless Germany can move itself to the latitude of somewhere like North Africa their solar investments are worse than worthless.

  7. dscott says:

    Context is everything and correlation is not causation. Curious question for those in Europe, the decline in CO2 emissions, does it track with the decline in heavy industrial output in Germany? The reduction in CO2 is not necessarily due to green energy or more modern generating equipment, it could also be in the switch from coal to natural gas as occurred in the US OR the loss of heavy industry as occurred in California.

  8. oldbrew says:

    dscott: Germany has its own coal but not natural gas – it gets that mainly from Russia.