Germany Passes ‘Ambitious’ Climate Change Package

BERLIN, Germany ~ The German cabinet agreed this week a package of measures designed to fight climate change that it said was one of the most ambitious initiatives of its kind undertaken anywhere in the world.

As 190 nations meet in Bali to create a framework for a post-2012 treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, Germany unveiled 14 new laws and decrees to allow it to meet its goal of cutting greenhouse gases by 40 percent by 2020.

“No other country in the world can go to the Bali climate conference with such an ambitious and concrete program,” Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said.

“Germany wants to show that a developed country can reconcile economic growth with protection of the environment.”

Economy Minister Michael Glos said Europe’s biggest economy was aiming for “intelligent and ambitious climate protection”.

One of the key measures will see renewable energy contribute between 25 and 30 percent of the country’s energy needs compared to the current level of 12 percent.

Power stations will be adapted to become less polluting by using more modern technology and the government wants to increase the efficiency of heating in buildings by offering annual subsidies of up to 500 million euros (US$733 million) from 2009. The subsidies are aimed at helping owners install environmentally friendly heating systems.

About 2.6 billion euros of the 2008 budget has been earmarked for climate protection, a 200-percent rise compared with the 2005 budget.

The Fraunhofer research institute estimates that Germany will invest 31 billion euros by 2020 to produce energy savings worth 36 billion euros.

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