Germany "on track for ecological renewal"

Trittin trumpets environmental progress under Red/Green government, sets out next priorities

Germany has made strong progress towards "ecological renewal" since the SPD/Green coalition government's election victory in 1998, the country's Green environment minister Jürgen Trittin claimed yesterday. Marking the half-way point in the government's term of office, Mr Trittin outlined the main initiatives taken so far and indicated his next priorities.

The arrival in power of Germany's Greens has had major consequences for domestic environmental policies, with ripples spreading far further. Immediately after the election if was clear that the Greens would press for a large-scale ecological tax reform and for an end to nuclear power (ENDS Daily 29 September). Mr Trittin was able to report yesterday that the environmental tax programme was well on track, while nuclear power should disappear in Germany by around 2021.

Measures taken to support renewable energies, promote cogeneration of heat and power and improve energy efficiency in buildings and elsewhere had given Germany a pioneering role internationally in combating climate change, Mr Trittin said. Based on these policies plus the ecotax programme, the government was confident of achieving its goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 25% from 1990 to 2005.

The minister outlined a series of other initiatives by the government since 1998 aimed at reducing traffic pollution, cutting summer smog, improving public radiation protection and increasing the area of protected habitats.

He also listed five priorities for the future. The government was proposing new limits on aircraft noise (ENDS Daily 25 February), he said, and would transpose into national law the recently passed EU directive on end-of-life vehicles. It would work at EU level to achieve cuts in traffic noise and fine particulate pollution from diesel motors, he added. It would continue to make strong efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and would prepare for a major international conference on sustainable development to be held in 2002.

Follow Up:
German environment ministry, tel: +49 30 28 55 00, and press release.

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