“We shall make sure Germany maintains its top position on climate protection,” Environment Minister Juergen Trittin, a Green Party member said on 18 October announcing a batch of new environmentally-friendly measures, a German Government spokesperson confirmed to edie. His comments came in the same week as the launch of a new report on EU countries general failure to meet carbon dioxide reductions promised under the Kyoto Protocol (see previous story).

Trittin not only forecast that Germany would meet its pledge cut to cut CO2 emissions by 21% on 1990 levels by 2010, but also predicted that the nation will meet a separate, self-imposed target to cut emissions by 25% on 1990 levels a full five years earlier. This would be achieved, he announced, through increasing support for renewable energy forms and energy-saving cars, a multi-billion dollar nationwide building insulation plan and the setting of voluntary targets for businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The government has also resisted weeks of protests from hauliers, taxi operators and farmers over recently imposed ‘eco-taxes’ on fossil fuels.

Trittin’s pledge contrasts with a report by the German Economics Ministry released in April which said that CO2 emissions could only be reduced by 14% on 1990 levels by 2005. In addition, the government’s decision to gradually phase out nuclear power in Germany (see related story ) has prompted forecasts that Germany’s reliance on carbon-based fuels would, if anything, rise.

At the same time, Trittin also announced that by 2005 German dependence on oil-based fuels, which currently account for about 40% of oil needs “will fall very, very strongly”, reducing the country’s exposure to rising oil prices. The minister declined, however, to say what proportion of Germany’s total energy needs would be covered by oil by 2005.

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