Germany's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions fell 12.4% between 1990 and 1997, putting it on track to achieve its goal of a 25% cut by 2005, according to a statement released by the environment ministry this week. Announcing the results of a new study by two national research institutes, environment minister Angela Merkel said Germany emitted 888m tonnes of CO2 in 1997, compared with 1,014m tonnes in 1990. She rejected suggestions that the sharp reduction was wholly due to the collapse of industry in the former East Germany after reunification in 1990. According to the study, CO2 emissions in eastern states fell by 133m tonnes, or 44%, between 1990 and 1995, whereas emissions from western states rose almost 2% for the same period. Dr Merkel attributed the overall reduction to improvements in energy efficiency in both industry and private households in the eastern states. In particular, she noted the benefits of switching from mostly coal use to more natural gas and oil. She declared herself "confident" that Germany would achieve its 25% goal on time, which she claimed would lead to the EU "over-reaching" its obligations under the Kyoto protocol. The 25% goal is a national voluntary target. Under the EU's "burden sharing" arrangement, Germany is committed to a 21% reduction in emissions of six greenhouse gases by 2008-2012 (ENDS Daily 17 June 1998
). Austria and the UK also have national voluntary targets which exceed their EU burden sharing obligations.
German environment ministry, tel: +49 228 3050.
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