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Germany\'s econ minister questions emission targets

23.10.2001
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Germany\ s econ minister questions emission targets
BERLIN - German Economics Minister Werner Mueller yesterday warned against ambitious national climate targets, calling them a potential burden on the economy and security of energy supply. The ministry commissioned a study on the previous government\'s target reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 40 percent on 1990 levels by 2020, which the junior coalition Green Party supports a return to. The ministry originally wanted to publish its energy report at the beginning of September, but the German media said this was postponed because Mueller had cast doubt over the government\'s climate goals. To reach the 40 percent reduction goals, Mueller said Germany would have to almost fully do without coal-fired power production, while its planned phase out of nuclear energy by 2020 would lead to a longer-term dependence on oil and gas. \"That 40 percent reduction scenario shows that considerably higher costs for the national economy are to be expected,\" Mueller said. The minister pointed to the fact that Germany had made clear reductions in its CO2 emissions, while other European countries had increased theirs. Strict emissions targets made manufacturing more expensive in Germany than elsewhere in Europe and threatened the country with competitive disadvantage, Mueller said, adding that Germany\'s climate policy should be exported. The German government wants to cut its share of CO2 emissions by 25 percent on 1990 levels by 2005, but according to reports, Mueller believes that only a 16-percent reduction is possible. An economics ministry spokesman said that the energy report would be presented in November, while a state secretary group in the chancellery is working in parallel on parameters for so-called sustainable development. REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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