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Germany has to pay because of missed EU climate targets

21 countries, including Austria, have met the requirements for 2020. Germany will now have to buy 22 million emission units.

Germany is the only larger EU country to have to make compensation payments because of missed climate targets last year. The German Ministry of the Environment confirmed on Wednesday that 22 million so-called emission units will have to be bought in order to meet the obligations for 2020. Before that, shortly before the world climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland (COP26), the EU Commission found that Germany had missed its commitments.

21 states had met the requirements, it said. In addition to Germany, Malta, Ireland, Finland, Bulgaria and Cyprus would now have to acquire compensation rights for the excessively high greenhouse gas emissions.

The background to this is the previous EU target for the transport, building and agriculture sectors. They represent about 60 percent of the total emissions of the community. The other sectors, especially energy and industry, are controlled through trading in emission rights. Germany was obliged to reduce CO2 emissions by 14 percent by 2020 compared to 2005 in these sectors outside of emissions trading. Although most sectors were still able to achieve their goals in the 2020 Corona crisis, the construction sector in Germany missed them.

Germany now has to buy emission units from other countries that have exceeded their targets. “We are in talks with different countries, but these are confidential negotiations,” said the Ministry of the Environment. Eastern European countries in particular have many surplus certificates. The costs for Germany will be low, also because the certificates will expire from 2021 and cannot be transferred. The reason is the new, tightened climate targets.

This is likely to increase the burden on Germany considerably in 2021. Since emissions in the transport sector, for example, will rise significantly after the corona crisis has subsided, it is considered unlikely that the requirements can be achieved here.


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