December 22, 2011
In North America and Northern Europe roughly more than one third of CO2 emissions are due to heating, which is correlated to average temperatures from October to April.
The latest estimates of the German aggregate energy consumption and CO2 emissions in 2011 confirm this rule of thumb.
The total German energy consumption is expected to fall by an impressive five per cent over 2010, the CO2 emissions to decline by three per cent. These reductions result essentially from high temperatures prevailing in most of 2011; assuming “normal” temperatures the CO2 emissions would have gone up by one per cent.
In a medium-term perspective, the German record of energy saving is much less impressive than German energy and environmental officials make us believe:
a reduction of the total energy consumption by 10 per cent during the last 20 years, since 1990, and just five per cent during the last five years, when European climate policy has started to grip, is nothing to be proud of for a country with slow economic growth and a huge energy efficiency potential inherited in Eastern Germany.
Despite the elaborate and expensive promotion programme for wind and solar power the German share of renewable energy does not yet exceed 20 per cent for electricity and 10 per cent for all energy combined.
One should draw three conclusions from this brief analysis:
- Always look at the fine print of any data on energy consumption and CO2 emissions:
- Continue to insulate buildings despite lower winter temperatures. Heating remains the single biggest item of energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
- Accelerate the pace towards higher energy efficiency and more renewable energies, in both developed and emerging countries. Humanity cannot afford to progress at the EU`s snail pace during the last 20 years.