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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 February, 2005, 14:15 GMT
Car-loving Germany supports Kyoto
By Ray Furlong
BBC News, Berlin

Mehrum, Germany
The powerful coal lobby is fighting to keep its share of state support
Germany has been one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the Kyoto agreement and aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 21% by 2012.

Germany is highly industrialised, with Europe's biggest economy, but it is also the only country where the Green Party is a member of government.

Drive anywhere in Germany and giant white wind farms soar into the sky.

Germany is the world's largest producer of wind power and accounts for a third of total world output.

It's just one example of how this huge economy and nation of fanatic car lovers is also committed to the environment.


Environment Minister Juergen Trittin boasts that Germany has the highest targets for cutting greenhouse gasses in the EU, a 21% reduction by 2012, reaching 40% by 2020.

Critics doubt whether this is realistic. They point out that Mr Trittin's plans for more renewable energies, such as wind and hydrogen, would rely heavily on subsidies.

But the powerful coal lobby is fighting to keep its share of state support.

The coal industry provides tens of thousands of jobs and is backed in the government by the economy minister, Wolfgang Clement, who comes from a mining region.

The debate over energy sources is all the more pressing as Germany hopes to finish closing down its 19 nuclear power stations within the next two decades.

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