Sunday, March 29, 2009

Germany announces fulfilment of Kyoto target

I do not belong to the rather large group of environmentalists who call for change in the name of lower carbon emissions -- the reasons would require quite a long post on their own, so we'll skip that for now.

But I see today that Germany's Umweltbundesamt (UBA -- more or less the country's Environmental Protection Agency) has announced that, contrary to widespread expectations, Germany will in fact reach its Kyoto target, which it currently even surpasses. Whereas the Germans needed to reduce their emissions by 21 percent, they have actually done so by 23.3 percent according to the press release I got today.

Critics will say that part of this "success" is merely the result of a collapsing industry in the wake of the financial crisis. They have already long been saying that Germany was only even roughly on target because emissions from the former German Democratic (= communist) Republic were calculated in -- and these critics are right.

So overall, this success is mixed: on the one hand, Germany is a leader in renewables and efficiency/conservation, but there is no denying that the modernization of Eastern German industry puts Germany in a special role.

The good news is that pundits will not be able to truthfully say that no country has met its Kyoto targets. Of course, they will say it anyway, but it will be false.

As an American living in Germany, I am prouder of another fact: Germany is a net importer of waste, which, ironically, environmentalists here are actually complaining about.

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