German cabinet approves climate plan

5th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

5 December 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet agreed Wednesday on a multi-billion-euro plan to slash Germany's greenhouse gas emissions around 36 per cent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels. The 14-point package calls for greater energy efficiency, an expanded use of renewable energy and new insulation requirements for buildings. It is also intended to send a signal to the UN climate change conference meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali to discuss a replacement for the Kyoto Protoc

5 December 2007

Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet agreed Wednesday on a multi-billion-euro plan to slash Germany's greenhouse gas emissions around 36 per cent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels.

The 14-point package calls for greater energy efficiency, an expanded use of renewable energy and new insulation requirements for buildings.

It is also intended to send a signal to the UN climate change conference meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali to discuss a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol that expires in 2012.

Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the new measures were "a giant leap forward" for Germany in the battle against climate change.

The plan is the first phase of a 29-point programme outlined by the government in August. The remaining measures, including stricter controls on vehicle emissions, are due for approval in May 2008.

Germany is Europe's biggest polluter, accounting for 3.19 per cent of the world's total output in carbon dioxide emissions. The new plan aims to cut back CO2 emissions by 220 million tons by 2020.

Opposition Greens party leader Reinhard Buetikofer criticized the government's proposals as "tepid" and "bogus."

Transport and Construction Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee said implementing the new measures would not be easy. But it was up to Germany to take the initiative on climate protection in the European Union, he added.

The Federation of German Industries BDI welcomed the climate programme and expressed the hope it would turn out to be a success. "It is good to see the government acting expeditiously," BDI president Juergen Thumann said.

Estimates put the total cost of the new measures at 31 billion euros (45.5 billion dollars), against energy savings of 36 billion euros by 2020.

Among the measures is one that ensures energy from renewable sources such as solar and wind power increase to 30 per cent by 2020. Another calls for expanded use of power-heat coupling - plants that produce both heat and electricity.

Merkel has made the fight against climate change a cornerstone of her government's programme and of its twin presidencies of the Group of Eight (G8) and European Union (EU) this year.

In her weekly podcast on Saturday, Merkel said she wanted to see Germany set an example to others at the Bali conference.

"Time is running out," she said. "The International Climate Control Panel has warned that we have only until the middle of the century to reduce CO2 emissions by half."

DPA

Subject: German news

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