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Country insight – Germany

Germany’s carbon emissions decreased by 11% last year driven by declines ‎across all fossil fuels in the energy mix and increase in renewables

Fast facts

   Primary energy consumption fell by 7.5% last year, the largest decline since 2009


2    Consumption of all fuels in the energy mix fell, except for renewables, which ‎increased by 4.7%, slower growth than the average of the previous decade (9.7%) 


3    The large declines in the consumption of coal (-18%) and oil (-9.9%) led to a ‎significant decline in CO2 emissions (-11%) last year ‎


Decline in primary energy ‎consumption


Decline in coal ‎consumption


Decline in CO2 emissions


Growth in renewable ‎power generation
  • Primary energy consumption in ‎Germany declined by 0.9 EJ ‎(-7.5%). This was the third ‎consecutive annual decline but the ‎largest in more than a decade. The ‎rate of decline last year also far ‎exceeded the 10-year annual ‎average of -0.1%.
  • Oil consumption declined by 225 ‎Kb/d (-9.9%,) reflecting the decline ‎in mobility due to Covid ‎restrictions throughout the year.‎
  • Gas demand declined by 2.1 bcm ‎‎(-2.7%) and coal declined 0.4 EJ ‎(-18%). The large contraction in ‎coal was supported by its falling ‎share in power generation. This ‎squeeze on coal in power ‎generation reflected strong growth ‎in wind and solar and declining ‎overall electricity demand.‎
  • The share of electricity generated ‎from coal fell to 24% compared to ‎‎43% just over 10 years ago. The ‎share of gas in power generation ‎increased 1 percentage point to ‎‎16% last year.
  • Wind and solar output increased ‎by 3.4% and 8.4%, respectively. ‎These rates are below the global ‎average, reflecting the relatively ‎mature status of the German ‎market. Renewables made up ‎‎18% of primary energy and 41% ‎of power generation.
  • Nuclear output continued to fall, ‎declining 0.1 EJ in 2020, the same ‎rate as the annual average over ‎the previous decade.‎
  • Carbon emissions declined by 77 ‎Mt (-11%) while Germany’s ‎carbon intensity (carbon emissions ‎per unit GDP) declined by 6.4%, ‎well ahead of the global average ‎decline of 2.9%. This above ‎average decline occurred even ‎though Germany’s carbon intensity ‎is already ~40% below the global ‎average level.‎
  • Similarly, Germany’s overall ‎energy intensity (the amount of ‎energy required per unit of GDP) ‎declined by 2.2% in 2020, more ‎than double the global average ‎rate of improvement of -1.0%.