Greener government demanded by German MPs

Committee of parliamentarians, experts, suggests routes to sustainable development

The German government should be "greened" along the lines of initiatives taken in the UK, a committee of German MPs and independent experts has said. In a report released on Friday, the Bundestag's enquete commission on the protection of humans and the environment says that a junior minister in every government department should be given responsibility for sustainable development. The environment ministry is relatively weak in its financial and political muscle, chairperson of the committee, Social Democrat MP Marion Caspers-Merk, told ENDS Daily. A transformation of the political system is needed so sustainable development becomes mainstream. In its report, the commission also makes recommendations for long-term sustainable development in land-use planning, housing and building, information and communications technology, and acidification of soils. Development is consuming German land at a rate of 120 hectares per day, the committee estimates, and recommends a reduction to 10% of this level as the sustainable limit in the longer term. Meanwhile, the committee calculates that federal and state governments are subsidising "green field" building to the tune of DM40bn (Ecu20bn) annually. More money should go instead to maintaining and improving the existing housing fabric, which would benefit the economy, jobs and the environment, it says. The committee presented its report on the German parliament's final day in session before the summer recess. MPs will debate its findings this autumn, after federal elections due in September.

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