Natural resources and energy
Germany's natural resources are limited with
one exception: the reserves of coal, mainly lignite,
which are the largest in the EU. But the country has
decided to stop using coal as an energy source from the
mid-2030s. In addition, nuclear power will have been
phased out by 2022.
Germany is one of the world's largest coal producers.
Coal production has been declining since 1989, mainly in
the case of coal mining. State aid to the mining
industry has been cut, unprofitable coal mines in the
east have been closed and strict rules have been
introduced to limit environmental damage.
Major exports by Germany with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
In addition, there is commercial extraction of salt
and pot ash (potassium carbonate). The production of oil
and natural gas is extremely small compared to what is
The country imported some 70 percent of its primary
energy needs in the 2010s (all but electricity and
heat). More than a third of total energy consumption at
the end of the 2010 was oil, a quarter of natural gas,
18 percent of coal, 14 percent of renewable energy
sources and just over 6 percent of nuclear power.
Germany is one of the leading countries in the world
when it comes to developing renewable energy sources;
the country produces a large part of the world's solar
cells and wind turbines. Nearly half of electricity
generation came from renewable energy sources at the end
of the 2010s.
The German energy policy, Energiwende (energy
conversion), which has been developed since the
beginning of the 1990s, aims to increase the share of
renewable energy sources in electricity generation while
phasing out nuclear power and coal. By 2050, the goal is
for four-fifths of all electricity and about two-thirds
of all energy to come from renewable energy in the form
of, for example, wind turbines and solar energy, which
are the most renewable sources that have been developed
most and are expected to continue to expand.
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Germany is the first major industrial nation in the
world that plans to phase out all its nuclear power. In
2001, the country decided to close the 17 nuclear
reactors by 2022. The decision was temporarily revoked
in 2010 but reintroduced after the Japan nuclear
disaster in the spring of 2011, when Germany shut down
eight reactors. The old-fashioned nuclear reactors in
former East Germany were closed during the 1990s for
As a leading nation in terms of environmental
protection, recycling and energy saving measures,
Germany in 1998 committed to reducing greenhouse gas
emissions by 21 percent in 2010 compared to 1990 levels.
The target was close to 2007, when Germany decided to
reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 80 percent
by 2050, and by 2020 had already achieved a 40 percent
reduction compared to 1990. But by the end of the 2010s,
the country was still far behind, which meant that the
government then succeeded in agreeing on a new climate
plan where the country aims to reduce carbon dioxide
emissions to 55 percent of the 1990 level by 2030.
Investments in renewable energy will help the country
achieve its ambitious goals, as well as a major
investment in electric cars, expanded public transport,
lower prices for train tickets and higher air taxes. In
addition, the cost of emission rights in the transport
and construction sectors will be gradually increased
until 2025. One important reason why Germany succeeded
so well in reducing emissions during the 00s was that
many coal-fired power plants and industrial plants
without purification equipment were closed down in
former East Germany. or equipped. Other environmental
problems remain, not only in eastern Germany.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
3,818 kilograms of oil equivalent (2015)
Electricity consumption per person
7035 kWh, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
719 883 thousand tons (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
8.9 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
14.2 percent (2015)
The new government takes office
Social Democratic SPD's members say in a vote yes to a large coalition
between the SPD and the CDU / CSU. Thus, Germany gets a new government close to
three months after the September elections. Angela Merkel is approved by the
Bundestag for her third term as Chancellor. The vote figures will be 462 for and
150 against Merkel. (See further Current Policy).
Government coalition is formed
After several weeks of negotiations, the CDU / CSU and the Social Democratic
SPD agree to form a major coalition. Among the disputed issues resolved are
pensions, tolls and the SPD requirement to introduce minimum wage. Before a
government can be formed, the settlement must be approved in a vote among SPD
The relationship with the United States is under pressure when Chancellor
Angela Merkel receives information indicating that the US national security
service NSA was intercepting her cellphone. In June, a fugitive ex-CIA employee,
Edward Snowden, had leaked information about the NSA's extensive interception
operations and stated that the operation also included allied countries in
Europe. (see also January 2014)
Negotiations on government coalition
The CDU / CSU and the Social Democrats hold talks on possible coalition
negotiations. Talks are also held between CDU / CSU and the Greens, who do not,
however, want to enter into any coalition cooperation. Instead, the Social
Democrats enter into coalition negotiations with the Christian Democrat, but set
conditions for, among other things, pension improvements and minimum wages.
Election success for CDU / CSU
Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative CDU / CSU gets 41.5 percent of the
vote in the Bundestag election, an increase of nearly 8 percentage points.
Social Democratic SPDs also progress to some extent and gain 25.7 percent.
Merkel's coalition partner, liberal FDP, on the other hand, falls outside the
federation by just under 5 percent. The same goes for Eurocritical Alternatives
for Germany (AFD). The Left and the Green both go back and receive 8.6 and 8.4
percent of the vote, respectively.
New immigration statistics
Figures show that Germany gained over one million immigrants in 2012, the
highest number since the escape from the Balkan War in 1995. From the economic
crisis countries Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy, immigration to Germany
increased over 40 percent in 2012, but most came from Poland and Romania.
Minister of Education and Research Annette Schavan resigns after losing her
doctorate in philosophy after accusations of plagiarizing parts of her
dissertation in 1980. Schavan rejects the accusations but says she does not want
to hurt the government, where she was a close ally to Chancellor Merkel.
Opposition wins in Lower Saxony
In the important state elections in northern Lower Saxony, the CDU goes back
and loses power to the SPD and the Green after ten years. It gives the
opposition a majority in the German Federal Council, which can block the law of