The DIW Berlin's current weekly report 34/2002 discusses the sobering conclusions that will be drawn by the countries participating in the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg next Monday. Above all it is the industrial states that carry the majority of responsibility for the climatic problems, and they have not yet managed to reduce or even stabilise their greenhouse gas emissions. Only the reduction in emissions by the transition countries of Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s has helped reduce total emissions, although this development was by no means the result of successfully implemented climate protection measures. Regarding the further increase in emissions in developing countries, there are still no prospects for a sustainable reduction in emissions on a global level.
With a plus of 44%, CO2 emissions increased heavily between 1990 and 2001 in the developing countries. This has contributed to a marked global increase of CO2 emissions from 31% (1990) to almost 40% (2001),of which the western industrial countries continue to be responsible for the lion's share - almost 50%. In these countries, CO2 emissions increased by 11% between 1990 and 2001, which is only slightly less than average global emissions. Compared to 1990 levels, emissions were highest in the United States with 730 million tons (15,2%), followed by Japan (almost 130 million tons) and Canada and Australia with almost 80 million tons. Only Germany and Great Britain have succeeded in reducing their emissions considerably, thus enabling the European Union to show a reduction in emissions.
Forecasts show that in the future, an increase in emissions must nevertheless be expected. The US-American Energy Information Administration (EAI) expects the emission of CO2 to increase by almost 36% by 2010 and by almost 70% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. With a plus of 54%, emissions will increase most heavily in the USA by 2020. Yet, western European countries, which have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 8% by 2008/2012, are expected to face a further increase in CO2 emissions.
From a current perspective, if there is no fundamental change in the climate protection situation worldwide, there will be no way to avoid severely missing global reduction targets. At present, there are severe doubts as to whether the industrial states will be able to fulfil their reduction targets by 2008/2012 within their own territories. In its recent study, the DIW Berlin reports that if Germany sticks to its climate protection policy, it will have a fair chance of fulfilling its reduction targets. However, it seems likely that Germany will not be able to reach its own - more ambitious - goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 25 % by 2005 compared to the 1990 levels.