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Germany

Germany: Allowances for CO2 Emissions During Nuke Phase-Out

German Economics Minister Michael Glos is demanding allowances for higher CO2 emissions resulting from the phase-out of nuclear energy, a German newspaper reported.

Biblis nuclear power plant

Germany is to phase out all its nuclear power plants by 2021

According to the Wednesday, April 2 edition of the Handelsblatt paper, Economics Minister Michael Glos urged in a letter to Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel that he demand such allowances during negotiations with the European Commission.

"The higher emissions resulting from the phase-out of nuclear energy [and the resulting reliance on other forms of energy] must be considered by the European Union in the total budget of emissions trading," said Glos, according to the Handelsblatt.

Glos also pointed to Sweden as a forerunner in the effort to gain allowances. He said Sweden was able to achieve such special treatment from the EU at the end of the 1990s -- setting a precedent, said Glos, from which Germany could now benefit.

During negotiations about how to share the burden of meeting emissions cuts among EU countries in trying to fulfill the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol, Sweden at the time pointed to its efforts to phase out the use of nuclear energy. The country was then permitted to raise its CO2 emissions output by four percent from 1990 to 2012.

Long-term emissions cuts

Smoke streaming out of a car exhaust pipe

Germany has agreed to significantly curtail its emissions

Germany is required to reduce its emissions by 21 percent during that same period, while EU countries as a whole have aimed to reduce emissions by eight percent.

Currently, the European Commission is hammering out a plan to implement the resolutions regarding energy and climate change which were agreed on at an EU summit in March 2007.

In the plan, the EU wants to define what its contribution should be in the next international agreement for protecting the environment, which is to replace the Kyoto Protocol when its requirements expire at the end of 2012. The EU aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 20 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels.

According to the Handelsblatt, the German environment ministry has not yet responded to Glos' request, but told the paper that higher emissions in the sectors involved in emissions trading "would have to be balanced out by additional emissions reduction in other areas, such as the private household or transportation sectors, if Germany is to achieve the climate protection targets laid out in EU agreements."

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