11/30/2022

Countries made only modest climate-change promises in Paris. They’re falling short anyway.

The struggles of Germany, one of the globe’s most progressive nations when it comes to embracing renewable energy, illustrates the problem.

The country’s “Energiewende,” or “energy transition,” aims to generate 80 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2050. The country also has set an aggressive near-term goal of cutting greenhouses gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2020.

But Germany is struggling to meet its goals. The county’s emissions actually rose slightly in 2015 and 2016 because of continued coal burning and emissions growth in the transportation sector. That failing trajectory won’t change without “massive and rapid efforts,” according to the German Environment Agency.

The European Union faces a similar quandary. Third after China and the United States in total world emissions, the bloc has pledged a 40 percent cut below 1990 levels by 2030. Time remains for the E.U. to meet that promise, but according to the European Environment Agency, it is on track to fall well short of its goal.

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