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Germany

German CO2 Emissions Fall Below Kyoto Requirements

Germany has cut its greenhouse gas emissions to below levels required under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, the government in Berlin announced on Friday.

A energy plant with smoke coming out of its chimneys

Germany's emissions came in 22.4 percent below Kyoto requirements

Europe's biggest economy's CO2 emissions, which are blamed for causing global warming, last year came in at 22.4 percent below Kyoto's base years of 1990 and 1995, the environment ministry said in a statement.

At 957 million tons, total CO2 emissions last year were 2.3 percent lower than in 2006, the ministry said.

The release of the figures comes ahead of Monday's crucial United Nations-sponsored talks on climate change in the Polish city of Poznan. Climate change is also on the agenda for next month's European Union (EU) leaders' summit in Brussels.

Long way to go

German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel seized on Friday's data as a sign of the success of Berlin's climate change policy. But he warned that continuing on the path to lowering CO2

emissions involved considerable challenges.

"Kyoto is only a first small step," he said. "In order to be able to counter climate change we have to make big steps forward. We still need more efficiency and lower electricity use."

Gabriel said this is the reason that Germany has been calling for an EU climate change package with ambitious targets.

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