German Carbon Emissions Drop 2 Percent on Renewables, Weather

German greenhouse-gas emissions fell 2.1 percent in 2011 over the previous year as milder weather and more power from renewable-energy generators reduced the need to burn fossil fuels, the government said.

Emissions of gases blamed for global warming, including carbon dioxide, reached about 917 million metric tons in 2011, down 26.5 percent from 1990 levels, government environment agency Umweltbundesamt said today in a website statement, citing preliminary calculations.

“While the emissions reductions were benefited by relatively mild weather, the growing share of renewable power and lower power exports also led to lower emissions,” Jochen Flasbarth, the head of the agency, said in the statement.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, seeks to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions 40 percent from 1990 levels by the end of this decade. Chancellor Angela Merkel in March 2011 ordered the closure by 2022 of the country’s nuclear reactors, which produce almost emission-free power, and replace them with more renewable generators and efficient fossil fuel-fed plants.

The latest data, which includes a 2.4 percent drop in CO2 emissions to 799.7 million tons, shows that the German emissions reduction targets can be reached “also with an accelerated nuclear exit,” Flasbarth said.

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