Berlin (AFP) Jul 05, 2007
Germany plans to boost the percentage of electricity generated by renewable resources to 45 percent by 2030 in a bid to curb global warming, environment minister Sigmar Gabriel said Thursday. Gabriel told reporters that a progress report on a renewable energy law (EEG) passed in 2000 showed that the country had already surpassed the quota of 12.5 percent set for 2010. He said Berlin was now setting a more ambitious target to produce at least 20 percent of electricity used in the country with renewable resources such as wind and solar power by 2020 and 45 percent by 2030.
"We can and must raise the bar for 2020 to generate at least 27 percent of all the electricity used with renewable resources," Gabriel said.
"This is the only way we can make a significant contribution to reaching our ambitious EU goals that we passed under the German presidency in March."
Berlin held the rotating EU presidency for the first six months of this year and made curbing climate change one of its top priorities.
The European Union set a goal in March of a 20-percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, but Germany is aiming to cut up to 40 percent.
Gabriel said Germany had prevented 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being spewed into the atmosphere last year thanks to renewable energy sources, adding that there were now 214,000 jobs in fields such as wind and solar power.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday at a meeting of political officials, industry representatives and environmental campaigners that Germany would seek to increase energy efficiency by three percent a year until 2020.
She cited fuel-efficient cars, houses with innovative heating systems and energy-saving household appliances as areas the government wanted to see developed.
Merkel chaired a meeting of politicians, industry representatives and environmental campaigners in the German capital that was designed as a forum for discussion, with concrete measures to be decided at a later date.
The chancellor earmarked fuel-efficient cars, houses with innovative heating systems and energy-saving household appliances as areas the government wanted to see developed.
"Seventy percent of energy generated in Germany is used in transport and heating," she noted.
Germany is hoping the introduction of the new measures will increase energy efficiency by three percent a year until 2020.
Though vague, the aims were welcomed by German environmental group BUND, which said: "Merkel seems to have understood that to be effective, action to protect the climate can only work if it is directed against the big electricity suppliers."
The European Union has set a goal of a 20-percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, but Germany is aiming for a cut of up to 40 percent.
Wulf Bernotat, the head of Germany's biggest electricity company, RWE, said the 40-percent goal was "unrealistic".
He said a cut of 25 percent was feasible, "under certain conditions."
Bernotat also bemoaned the fact that the "decisive issue" of nuclear power was not addressed at the meeting.
Germany has started a phase-out of nuclear energy that, under the current plan, would see all nuclear plants closed by 2020.
The plan was approved by the previous Social Democrat and Green government, but Merkel's conservatives argue that abandoning nuclear energy will seriously harm the country's chances of slashing greenhouse gas emissions.
The head of chemical group BASF, Juergen Hambrecht, also cast doubt on the government's aim on greenhouse gases, saying: "I don't believe in a policy that sets over-ambitious targets."
Merkel said the government would hold discussions in August about Germany's negotiating position for a UN conference on the Indonesian island of Bali in December.
The conference will see the start of negotiations to draw up a successor to the Kyoto Protocol on limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
"We want to make it clear to the international community that we are grappling with this issue," Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said.
Source: Agence France-Presse
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Green Campaigners Keep Watch On Dubai Man-Made Isles
Dubai (AFP) Jul 05, 2007
Giant islands taking shape off the coast of Dubai are sparking interest not only from celebrities but also from environmental campaigners jittery about the man-made structures so large they can be seen from space. Work is all but complete on the Palm Jumeirah, the first of three palm tree-shaped islands, which developers Nakheel say is more than one and a half times the size of New York's Central Park and will eventually house thousands of luxury apartments, beachside villas, upmarket hotels and restaurants.
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