19th Aug 2019

Germany to step up emissions reductions

  • The German government is pushing for more energy efficiency (Photo: Bundesregierung)

Germany announced on Wednesday (3 December) it is stepping up its efforts to reduce carbon emissions by 2020.

Berlin's plan includes tax incentives to improve energy efficiency in buildings while electricity producers will also be pushed to reduce their emissions further.

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Germany wants to achieve a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, compared to levels of 1990.

“Without the [new] programme, Germany would have missed the goal by 5 to 8 percentage points, according to current projections”, the government said in a statement.

The European Union's common goal for emissions reduction by that year is 20 percent. In October, it set a 40 percent reduction goal for 2030.

Germany has in recent decades pushed for more use of renewable energy, quintupling its electricity generation from renewable sources between 1995 and 2012.

However, it is also phasing out its nuclear power plants meaning it has had to replace phased-out nuclear energy with carbon emitting coal plants.

The plan was presented by energy and economy minister Sigmar Gabriel and environment minister Barbara Hendricks.

Hendricks is going to Lima next week for the UN climate talks - of the 28 EU member states, 23 of them are sending a minister or secretary of state to the Peruvian capital.

In total 119 countries are sending a minister, fifteen fewer than during the previous climate change conference of this size, last year in Warsaw.

The World Meteorological Organisation announced in Lima that the year 2014 is “on track to be one of the hottest, if not the hottest, on record”.

Global average air temperature for January to October was about 0.57 degrees Celsius above the average of those months in the period 1961-1990. It was also 0.09 degrees higher above the average of the past 10 years.

Another announcement that came from Lima on Wednesday was that the UN's Green Climate Fund will begin funding projects to reduce emissions in six months from now.

The almost $10 billion that has been pledged to the fund will start being spent on projects in June 2015.

A group of NGOs and other civil society organisations on Wednesday called for clear rules on how the money may be spent, after it emerged that Japan used climate money to fund the production of coal plants.

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Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'

Following an investigation into the Dieselgate scandal, the European Parliament recommended a single commissioner should be responsible for both air quality and setting industrial standards. But only the Greens want to commit to carry out that advice.

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