Merkel reaffirms carbon emissions cuts

3rd July 2007, Comments 0 comments

3 July 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Tuesday that a German offer to cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 40 percent remained conditional on most of the world joining in. Speaking after consultations in Berlin with chiefs of German energy companies and consumer leaders, she said that climate change had been unambiguously proved by science to be happening and Germany must act on emissions. "Obviously Germany will make its contribution to achieving the targets," she said. But she said the ba

3 July 2007

Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Tuesday that a German offer to cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 40 percent remained conditional on most of the world joining in.

Speaking after consultations in Berlin with chiefs of German energy companies and consumer leaders, she said that climate change had been unambiguously proved by science to be happening and Germany must act on emissions.

"Obviously Germany will make its contribution to achieving the targets," she said.

But she said the basic target was to cut CO2 emissions by 20 percent by 2020. Only if other nations joined in would Germany expand the cut to 30 or 40 percent and she could not promise that before negotiations were finished.

Juergen Thumann, president of the BDI Confederation of German Industry, said before the meeting that industry considered Merkel's 40-percent target unrealistic.

Merkel said she expected annual climate-change talks with industry from 2010 onwards to review if the targets were feasible.

The energy "summit" in Berlin was the third and last of a series of meetings on how energy-poor Germany can keep the wheels of industry turning and electrical appliances running while reducing emissions.

The electricity industry in German mainly burns fossil fuels to generate power. Some companies are experimenting with sinking carbon dioxide in deep rock instead of sending it up the chimney.

The talks have re-ignited Germany's old debate about nuclear power. Under legislation, all the country's 17 nuclear power stations are to be scrapped by 2021, but some center-right figures favor keeping them longer.

Merkel was accompanied at the talks by Science Minister Annette Schavan, Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Economics Minister Michael Glos, who favors keeping nuclear power longer so as to hold down CO2 emissions.

Glos forecast Tuesday that debate about this would continue until the next election in 2009. However Gabriel, a Social Democrat, flatly rejected any change in policy.

Gabriel said Germans would be encouraged to improve building insulation, use waste heat from power stations and buy power-saving home appliances.

The government said the next step was to draft legislation this year setting targets until 2020.

DPA

Subject German news

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