German cabinet approves draft climate strategy

Ministries agree sectoral burden sharing to meet national CO2 emission reduction commitments

The German cabinet yesterday approved an interim national climate protection strategy designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a faster rate in order to reach domestic and international commitments. Various government ministries must now work out how to "close the gaps in their area of responsibility".

For the first time, the government is proposing sectoral burden sharing for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. For the domestic and buildings sector, 10-25m tonnes is proposed; other key sectors are the energy and other industries (20-25m tonnes) and transport (15-20m tonnes).

The cabinet also agreed to encourage greater penetration of cogenerated heat and power by introducing minimum quotas for its use by power firms. It suggested that this could reduce CO2 emissions by 10m tonnes by 2005 and 23m tonnes by 2010. Finally, it undertook to pass a national energy saving ordinance for the domestic and buildings sector "by the late summer".

The previous, conservative government committed Germany to a 25% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2005 from a 1990 baseline; under the Kyoto protocol the country is committed to a 21% reduction on 1990 levels of emissions of the six Kyoto gases by 2008-12. According to the environment ministry, CO2 emissions have now fallen 15.3% from 1990. Existing measures are expected to increase this only to 18-20% by 2005.

* In a separate development, the cabinet agreed at the same meeting to draw up a national sustainability strategy under the leadership of a ministerial committee and with the advice of a national council for sustainability to be set up "within the next few weeks".

Follow Up:
German environment ministry, tel: +49 30 28550, press release, and draft climate protection strategy. See also press release on National sustainability.

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