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Germany set to miss climate targets for two years in embarrassing admission

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Germany will probably miss its carbon emissions reduction targets in the coming two years, Economy and Climate Protection Minister Robert Habeck told Die Zeit newspaper.

After a top court ruled in April that Germany must tighten its climate protection law, the then-government set more ambitious CO2 reduction targets, including being carbon neutral by 2045.

The new coalition government presented plans to step up climate protection efforts entailing far-reaching reforms for the utility sector and across manufacturing industries, buildings, transport and agriculture.

Habeck, co-leader of the Greens who are part of the new ruling coalition said: “We will probably miss our targets for 2022. … Even for 2023 it will be difficult enough. We are starting with a drastic backlog.”

Germany aims to cut emissions in industry, the biggest carbon emitting sector, to 177 million CO2 tonnes in 2022, down 38 percent compared with 1990.

In the transport sector, CO2 emissions should be reduced to 139 million tonnes in the coming year, down 15 percent from 1990.

In the transport sector, CO2 emissions should be reduced to 139 million tonnes in the coming year from the 145 million of the current year.

Habeck said the number of wind turbines built in Germany per year will rise to 1,000-1,500 from around 450 in the previous years, in an effort to meet the government’s targets for renewables to meet 80 percent of power demand by 2030 and to dedicate 2 percent of land surface to wind power infrastructure.

The government aims to have laws on accelerating approvals of wind turbines ready by the end of next year, he said.

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He added: “2022 will be one of the most exhausting years this ministry has experienced in a long time.”

The embarrassing admission comes as more than 100 leaders last month agreed to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by the end of the decade, underpinned by $19 billion in public and private funds to invest in protecting and restoring forests.

The commitment – made at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow and backed by forest-rich countries such as Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo – covers forests totalling more than 13 million square miles (33.7 million sq km).

Fran Raymond Price, global forest practice lead at environmental group WWF International, said there was an urgent need to see the Glasgow forest declaration turned into meaningful action.

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She told the Thomson Reuters Foundation: “The political will demonstrated by the governments who signed this commitment is a welcome first step.

“(But) we need to see this now translated into legislative action within the next year or two, with transparency, accountability and involvement of … indigenous peoples and local communities.”

Cutting down forests has major implications for global goals to curb warming, as trees absorb about a third of the planet-heating carbon emissions produced worldwide, but release the carbon they store when they rot or are burned.

Forests also provide food and livelihoods, clean the air and water, support human health, are an essential habitat for wildlife, regulate rainfall and offer flood protection.

Last year, an area of tropical forest the size of the Netherlands was lost, according to monitoring service Global Forest Watch.

The Glasgow declaration was broadly welcomed but many environmentalists noted similar zero deforestation pledges had repeatedly been made and not met by both governments and businesses.

Those include the 2014 New York Declaration on Forest (NYDF), the United Nations sustainability goals and targets set by global household brands.

Under the Glasgow pledge, further leader and ministerial meetings are expected in 2022 and beyond to assess progress and drive implementation of the pact.



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