The Garzweiler coal mine in Germany
I looked at German coal production statistics earlier, but what about consumption?
There was obviously a sharp fall in the early 1990s, following German reunification and the subsequent closure of much East German heavy industry. However, for the last twenty years consumption has been pretty much flat.
This, at first sight, appears unexpected, given Germany’s reputation for supposedly going green. Even the phasing out of nuclear power, following Fukushima in 2011, does not explain this phenomenon.
In fact, when we look at CO2 emissions, these have not fallen as much as many people might have expected in recent years. They were actually higher last year than in 2009!
Again, we see that most of the reduction to date occurred in the early 1990s, and had nothing at all to do with concerns about climate change.
And all this makes more sense when we look at energy trends for all sources:
With oil and gas use also little changed, we find that overall consumption of fossil fuels is still virtually as great as in 2009, and shows little sign of reducing in the next few years.
Renewable energy, though increasing, still only accounts for 14% of total energy.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting Germany is backsliding. The cost of the energiewende is real. But the cold fact is that, despite already spending an estimated 150 billion euros, little has actually changed.
1) All data is from BP Energy Review 2016 http://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy.html
2) CO2 emissions reflect only those through consumption of oil, gas and coal for combustion related activities, and exclude other emissions, such as land use, and emissions of other greenhouse gases.