Key Findings

Germany demonstrates that fighting climate change and phasing out nuclear power can be two sides of the same coin.

Many countries are struggling to fulfill their climate commitments. Germany's decommissioned nuclear capacity has been replaced with more renewables, conventional back-up power plants, and greater efficiency. Renewables reduced Germany’s emissions by around 130 million tons in 2016. Overall, Germany overshot its Kyoto climate target of a 21 percent reduction by almost four percentage points for 2012. However, it is highly probable that Germany will miss its 2020 target of a 40 percent reduction compared to 1990 levels. In 2016, the reduction had only reached 27 percent, leaving a large gap of 13 percentage points in only five years. If coal plants are left online, progress must come in other sectors, such as by getting people to invest in building renovations and to drive less cars. Generally, these are hard sells for the German public.