Description and meaning of the component

The present ways of production and living especially in industrialized countries causes GHG emissions on a large scale (primarily through the combustion of fossil fuels but also through factory farming, for example) that are absorbed by the atmosphere.

Nowadays it is undisputed that there is a rising atmospheric concentration of these gases, and that this leads to an increase of global average temperature.

The component wants to cover the costs of such a climate change that has numerous negative welfare consequences.  The “damage costs of GHG emissions” are recorded separately from damages caused by other air pollutant emissions because the long resting time of GHGs in the atmosphere and the global impact of climate change require a special consideration.


Description of Indicator trends

The damages of GHGs fell from 96 billion euro in 1991 to 72 billion in 2014. This equals a reduction of around 25 %. The lowest level of GHG emissions and the associated damage costs was reached in 2009 during the financial and economic crisis. In 2010 the emissions already began to increase again and since then, no clear trend emerges.

The goal is a sharp reduction of GHG emissions until 2050. In early industrialized countries a reduction of at least 80 % compared to 1990 has to be achieved. Therefore a reduction of 40 % by 2020 seems appropriate – well aware that the first 40 % are easier to achieve then the second.

This is equal to an annual reduction of 1,33 %. In 2014 the GHG emissions were 28 % below the level of 1990. This equals an average reduction of 1,2 % per year, however the average reduction between 2009 and 2014 amounted only to 0,1 %.

This implies a significant intensification of efforts in the concerned areas – electricity, heat, mobility, agriculture and energy intensive production technologies – is necessary if the defined targets shall be achieved.