Germany’s ‘going green’ campaign falls flat, as pollution rises

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s much-touted clean air campaign — launched with the fanfare closing of the nation’s nuclear plants and a vow to lead European climate change controls – has fallen flat, as a recent report shows pollution levels have actually increased for the second year in a row.

Part of the reason? The closing of nuclear actually pushed the nation to burn more coal, Bloomberg reported.


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“The trend of rising German [carbon dioxide] emissions is alarming,” said Claudia Kemfert, who heads up the Berlin-based DIW economic institute’s energy unit, Bloomberg said. “Climate protection is a key target of the government, and greenhouse gases should fall, not climb.”

The DIW, which gives advice to the government, found that Germany is likely to produce more greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 than in 2012 — and that follows a 1.5 percent increase in 2012 than in 2011. Over the same time period, utilities were found to have bolstered their coal imports by 25 percent, Bloomberg reported.

Ms. Merkel is likely to take a political hit, analysts say.

The chancellor helped negotiate the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and pushed for the shuttering of Germany’s nuclear plants in the wake of an earthquake in Japan the led to the meltdown of reactors. Elections are set for Germany in September.

“The increase of coal is disastrous for climate policy and a bad signal for progress of Germany’s energy switch,” said Gerald Neubauer, a Greenpeace campaigner, in the Bloomberg report. “The Merkel government doesn’t do enough to protect the climate anymore.”

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