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Fact Check: A Climate Sinner Among Many? CO2 emissions in Germany

2019-09-20T08:38:51.583Z

TIME ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates



Berlin (dpa) - Greta Thunberg knows this: Politicians who refer to the responsibility of others. In the US Congress this week, she made it clear to parliamentarians: "That's the same argument used against you."

Everyone has to take action to avert the climate catastrophe. This logic probably also applies to Germany. Where do we stand in this country in terms of CO2 emissions? A fact check:

ASSUMPTION: Germany, as a single country, has a small share of the globally emitted climate-damaging emissions. With national measures, it can only barely contain man-made global warming.

FACTS: In fact, about one-fiftieth of energy-related global CO2 emissions are emitted in Germany - the numbers available for 2018 put the German share at 2.1 percent. For 2016, the International Energy Agency IEA came to the same conclusion.

What appears at first glance to be a very small share, but is more precise but significant: In international comparison, Germany ranks number 6 of the largest CO2 emitters, as a study of the British oil company BP for the year 2018 is evidenced.

On average, every citizen of the world emits around five tonnes of carbon dioxide per year - but in Germany, according to calculations by the Global Carbon Project research network, this is 9.7 tonnes per capita, almost twice as much. Each Chinese contributed an average of 7 tons of CO2 to climate change, each US citizen 16 tons.

For the numerical consideration, political factors are added: Germany has considerable influence in the G7 and G20 groups of states. At the United Nations, Berlin is currently co-ordinating the fate of the world in the Security Council. And last but not least, Germany also bears considerable responsibility in the European Union - and thus for around one tenth of energy-related global CO2 emissions. In view of these factors, Germany also plays a pioneering role in climate protection; other countries could follow suit.

BP study on CO2 emissions in 2018

International Energy Agency IEA (pp. 80-82)

Global Carbon Project with CO2 per capita emissions

Klimafakten.de on Germany's role

Greta Thunberg's appearance in the US Congress

Source: zeit

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