Germany "will miss CO2 reduction goal"

Fossil fuels to remain main energy sources in medium term, says government report

Germany will miss its national target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2005, according to a report published on Monday by the economics ministry. The document forecasts 2005 emissions just 14% below 1990 levels, mainly due to expected slow progress in changing the country's energy mix.

The report marks the end of "Energy Dialogue 2000," a year-long debate between the government, industry, unions and environmental groups initiated by economics minister Werner Müller and Deutsche Bank chief Rolf Breuer. The process aimed at assessing options to make German energy use more sustainable.

There is a need for greater efforts by politicians, industry and consumers to unlock the potential of renewables, says the report, but they should only be subsidised if they can eventually be self-supporting. It predicts growth in the contribution of renewables to primary energy production from 2.4% and electricity from 5.7% in 1998 to 4.4% and 10.6% respectively in 2010.

The forecast is well below the 12.5% of electricity from renewables by 2010 goal recently proposed by the European Commission as an indicative an indicative target for Germany (ENDS Daily 10 May).

The report says that brown coal, hard coal and oil will be very important energy raw materials, especially in the new states, over the next twenty years, calling brown coal Germany's "only competitive, subsidy-free, indigenous energy source". On transport, it highlights a need for policies which "avoid motorised transport" where economically appropriate, a shift to rail and sea, increased emphasis on new technologies and fuels as well as a European aviation fuel tax.

Germany's environmental organisations and biggest trade union IG Metall have heavily criticised the report. The NGOs dropped out of the dialogue three weeks ago and have refused to sign the final paper. Energy policy spokesperson for Nabu, Frank Musiol told ENDS Daily: "The report offers no real perspective for a shift in energy supply. There is too much emphasis on brown coal and hard coal. It describes the status quo rather than a real re-think."

Follow Up:
German economics ministry, tel: +49 30 20149; Energy Dialogue 2000 final report; Nabu, tel: +49 228 40360.

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