Berlin Environmental Atlas

08.03 Carbon Dioxide Emissions / 08.04 Carbon Dioxide Emissions - Arranged by Sectors and Floor Spaces

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CO2 Emissions in Berlin

The development of CO2 emissions in Berlin (cf. Fig. 1) clearly shows the influence of industrialization and economic growth, as well as the considerable reduction of emissions resulting from the reunification of Germany. There was a discussion of climate protection in Germany, and the Berlin government chose to set their own goal for CO2 reduction. By 2010, Berlin CO2 emissions per inhabitant are to be reduced to a level 25 % under that of 1990.

Tab. 3: CO2 Emissions in Berlin (Öko-Institut calculations)

[Table is also available as Excel-File (MS-Excel is required).]

Berlin CO2 emissions decreased approx. 10 % to 29.6 million tons between 1990 and 1995, with electricity imports and singularities of the Berlin climate taken into consideration. The greatest reduction was made by the Power and Heating Works. Electrical and district heating works alone have reduced CO2 emissions by 2.4 million tons since 1990. A considerable amount of this reduction was due to the reduced electrical and heating demands of end consumers (indirect reduction). Households, industry, and the service sector made a direct reduction of over 1 million tons of CO2. The only emission increases were in traffic and electricity imports.

Fig. 1: Berlin CO2 Emissions since 1892 (Öko-Institut 1994)

The emission decrease in some sectors is due to various factors. The most important factor is the conformance shock exerted by the Reunification of Germany on the economy of East Berlin. The economic structural transformation in the entire city that began in 1990 is also important. Less energy-intensive service providers are replacing industrial production, which is usually energy-intensive. There was also considerable investment in the renovation and modernization of buildings and facilities, with increased energy efficiency. The liberation of Berlin from its island status and the transition to a market economy in the East increased the availability and price attractiveness of natural gas for Berlin energy consumers. Natural gas, the energy source with the least carbon content and thus the least CO2 emissions, replaced much high-CO2 lignite and peat coal. The district heating pipelines, generally produced with the waste heat of power plants, were modernized and extended, too.

Tab. 4: Specific CO2 Emissions of Various Energy Sources (Öko-Institut calculations)

[Table is also available as Excel-File (MS-Excel is required).]

The emissions decrease of the 90´s is a result of changes in economic structures, increased energy efficiency, and transitions to less CO2 -intensive energy sources.

Besides fossil fuels three other areas are significant in CO2 emissions:

  • CO2 emissions occur in chemical processes in the production of certain products, including cement, lime, soda, glass, and primary aluminium. But these non-energy CO2 emissions are not a factor in Berlin.
  • CO2 emissions are created by changes in soil use. This complex is of little influence in Berlin.
  • Fixations of CO2 are also to be considered. Photosynthesis takes up CO2 from the atmosphere and transforms it into vegetative biomass. Trees and forests are of particular importance. The binding of carbon dioxide by trees and forests in Berlin has not been quantified, but its influence on climate is relevant.

Anthropogenic climate change is a global problem. There is no direct space-time relationship between cause and effect. This means that a spatial depiction of emissions on a map is not particularly useful in the context of the problem. A spatial and chronological depiction is more meaningful for SO2 emissions because they have direct local effects. A spatial depiction of CO2 emissions is more useful for the identification of important areas of action. In addition to such a graphic presentation of problem causes, a longterm spatial depiction of causes of CO2 emissions can be used in monitoring. The effects of demographic, economic developments, and climate protection policies can be followed spatially.

Data bases and methodology have been systematized and prepared so that the determination of spatially differentiated CO2 emissions on the basis of updated data can be made relatively simply.

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