40 percent less CO2 by 2020?

8-point plan submitted by the Federal Government on climate protection

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The massive reduction in energy consumption, the construction of more efficient power plants and a drastic expansion of renewable energies are the cornerstones of an 8-point plan with which the German government wants to reduce CO2 emissions in Germany by 40 percent by 2020. A new climate protection program will start this year. The goal is to make Germany the most energy-efficient country in the world.

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This is an ambitious goal. But initial results of studies commissioned by the Federal Government show that this is feasible. We can reduce CO2 emissions by 270 million tons by 2020 compared to today's levels if we set the right course, "said Sigmar Gabriel in his government statement in the German Bundestag.

The eight measures at a glance:

  • Reduction of electricity consumption by eleven percent through massive increase in energy efficiency (savings volume: 40 million tons)
  • Renewal of power plant fleet through more efficient power plants (30 million tons)
  • Increasing the share of renewable energies in power generation to more than 27 percent (55 million tons)
  • Doubling the efficient use of combined heat and power to 25 percent (20 million tons)
  • Reduction of energy consumption through building renovation, efficient heating systems and in production processes (41 million tons)
  • Increasing the share of renewable energies in the heating sector to 14 percent (14 million tons)
  • Increasing transport efficiency and increasing the share of biofuels to 17 percent (30 million tonnes)
  • Reduction of emissions of other greenhouse gases such as methane (40 million tonnes).

"The last few months have brought us all the dangers of climate change in mind. Now we have to draw the right conclusions from the scientifically proven facts. It is about nothing less than the restructuring of the industrial economy. We will need to develop new technologies to deal with existing energy sources more efficiently. We will need more innovations in renewable energy. All of this also holds great economic opportunities - especially for an export-oriented country like Germany. "Gabriel continues.

Do not we expensive

Idleness could not afford Germany economically. The DIW has calculated that the economic consequential damage of unchecked climate change for Germany would amount to 137 billion euros, said Gabriel. By contrast, the necessary climate protection investments will only cost around three billion euros by 2010. display

"We can all make a significant contribution to climate protection with our everyday behavior. Saving energy is so easy and worthwhile. If we ventilate the flat briefly and vigorously, we save heating energy. If we pull the plug out of the tin at night, we will save standby losses. Most importantly, we can reduce power consumption by looking at power consumption when buying refrigerators, computers and light bulbs. All of this saves money - and does not diminish the quality of life, "Gabriel continued.

Ambiguous reactions at the environmental organizations

In the environmental protection organizations in Germany, the government's declaration Gabriel has been received in different ways. "The climate protection program of Minister Gabriel is ambitious. However, the words must now be timely followed by the corresponding deeds. The Federal Government must immediately submit laws to promote renewable energies in the heating sector and modern combined heat and power plants. In addition, the regulations for the thermal insulation of buildings must be tightened, "said Angelika Zahrnt, chairwoman of the German Federal Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND).

The climate protection targets would be endangered by plans to build around 30 new coal-fired power plants. If the federal government did not prevent this, Gabriel's selective progress on climate protection would be permanently destroyed.

Klimateufel is in the detail

The 8-point plan also provided a generally positive response to WWF Germany. "The explanation goes in the right direction, even if many detailed questions have to be specified, " says Matthias Kopp, climate representative of the environmental protection organization.

"Long-term climate protection remains a pious wish, as the government continues to distribute gifts to energy providers that rely on coal-fired power generation, " said Kopp. Unfortunately, the Federal Government, when it comes down to it, always weak knees. Recently, this has been shown in distribution of pollution certificates. By granting privileges to climate-friendly coal-fired power plants, more efficient climate protection beyond 2020 would be virtually impossible. Improvements are urgently needed in the design of the National Allocation Plan. In particular, the auction of the certificates is necessary.

"Government declaration on climate protection absolutely inadequate"

Roland Hipp of Greenpeace Germany, on the other hand, yesterday sharply criticized the German government in the "ZDF-Mittagsmagazin". The government declaration on climate protection had been "absolutely inadequate". "Mr. Gabriel has only talked about can provisions. He said we can do it all. But he did not say that's what we want to do, "said Hipp. "We have heard such speeches very often in recent months - pleasant-sounding speeches where you think they're doing something." Instead, a few months ago, Ms. Merkel laid the foundation for a lignite-fired power plant annually produce 16 million tons of CO2.

(BMU / BUND / WWF / ZDF, 27.04.2007 - DLO)