German environment statistics a mixed bag

Four-yearly report confirms improving water, air, but concerns over CO2, noise, land-use

German water and air quality have shown steady improvement, while a rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions last year and worsening trends in road transport noise and land-use are causes for concern, according to the seventh national environmental data report published in Berlin on Friday. Released every four years by the national environment agency, the survey is based on statistics from various federal and state agencies.

For environment minister Jürgen Trittin, the report confirmed the direction of the government's climate protection strategy (ENDS Daily 18 October 2000). "With a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions since 1990, Germany leads the field of environmental protection world-wide," he said.

However, in the light of last year's slight increase in CO2 emissions (ENDS Daily 6 February) and recent climate warnings by UN scientists, there was no room for complacency, Mr Trittin added. He warned against increased use of carbon-intensive coal, blamed for the recent increase in national CO2 emissions, and called for more energy efficient technology and more renewable energy.

Environment agency president Andreas Troge said traffic noise had become a "massive health and environmental problem" affecting half the population. Dr Troge also addressed the problem of increasing use of land for buildings and roads, which was destroying or cutting up natural areas. Between 1993 and 1997 an additional 120 hectares were built on every day. By 1999 this had grown to 129 hectares a day or 200 football pitches, he said.

Follow Up:
German environment agency, tel: +49 30 89030, German environment ministry, tel: +49 30 28 55 00 and joint press release.

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