Germany admits will fall far short of 2020 climate target

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FRANKFURT AM MAIN, June 13, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – The German government
acknowledged Wednesday that it will miss a 2020 target for reducing carbon
dioxide emissions, but vowed to catch up “as quickly as possible”.

Rather than cutting emissions of the greenhouse gas by 40 percent compared
with 1990 levels, Europe’s largest economy will manage reductions of just 32
percent, said the annual climate report for 2017 signed off by Chancellor
Angela Merkel’s cabinet.

The shortfall of eight percentage points translates into around 100 million
tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) pumped into the air annually.

German politicians had already acknowledged they would not meet the 2020
target in coalition negotiations ahead of Merkel’s swearing-in for her fourth
term.

“We must urgently get back on track and reach our 40-percent goal as
quickly as possible,” Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said in a
statement.

“We know the instruments that can get us to the target — renewable energy
or electric cars, for example.”

The environment ministry blamed three main factors for the slower progress:
overestimates of how much CO2 would be saved under existing plans, faster-
than-expected economic growth and a faster-growing population than forecast.

In fact, “current trends in economic performance and traffic figures are
cause for concern that the gap might end up even larger than the 8.0 points
predicted,” the ministry said.

Germany has a 2050 climate goal to reduce CO2 emissions by between 80 and
95 percent compared with 1990, and is a signatory to the 2015 Paris agreement
that aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

But the government pulls in sometimes contradictory directions, turning to
dirty brown coal to offset Merkel’s 2011 decision to shut down all nuclear
plants by 2022 and backing the car industry’s fixation on the internal
combustion engine.