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Germany's lead in environmental technology under threat: report

A new report warns that Germany risks losing its position as a leader in environmental technologies. The report says the new government is not investing in industries with a future.

Wind turbines

Germany is one of the world's leading producers of wind power

The German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) has warned that the German government is risking the country's position as a leader in environmental technologies.

In a new report, the council calls on Chancellor Angela Merkel and her new cabinet to create environmentally friendly economic growth.

Volker Hauff, the chairman of the RNE, says the government should develop industries and technologies that not only have a future but protect the environment too.

"We need growth that can justify itself," Hauff says.

At a conference to present the report, Bjoern Stigson, the president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, said Germany needed a long-term plan.

"Germany is still the world market leader," he said, "But China, the US and other countries are catching up."

Stigson said that Germany must invest significant amounts if it wants to remain at the forefront of environmental technologies.

A long row of solar panels

Solar panels can be found in many parts of Germany

No deal on emissions

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has meanwhile further diminished hopes that world governments will be able to come up with a deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen next month. However, Merkel did say she believed progress would be made at the summit.

"This year will show whether global cooperation can really rise to another level," Merkel said.

The chancellor called on the United States and emerging nations, such as China and India, to commit themselves to verifiable cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

"Without the emerging nations, [a deal] will not be reached," she said.

Merkel is set to attend the Copenhagen conference in the closing stage of negotiations. The meeting is intended to provide a replacement to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.


Editor: Michael Lawton

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