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Germany’s Greenhouse Gas Output Rose in 2012 as Coal Use Surged

Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions rose 1.6 percent last year as more coal was burned to generate power, according to the Environment Ministry.

Carbon dioxide emissions led the increase with a 2 percent jump, the ministry said today, citing preliminary data from the Federal Environment Agency. Germany emitted 931 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents last year as the use of lignite rose 5.1 percent, it said.

“We must make sure that this was an exception and that it doesn’t become a trend that’s repeated,” Environment Minister Peter Altmaier said at a press conference today in Berlin. Germany needs the right incentives so that companies develop and use carbon-efficient technologies and turn to gas rather than coal to generate power, he said.

Month-ahead profit at coal-fired power stations in Germany averaged 8.57 euros a megawatt-hour last year, compared with minus 9.02 euros at gas-fed plants, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, reduced its greenhouse gas output 25.5 percent since 1990, exceeding its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, according to the ministry. The European Union should set more ambitious climate protection targets to reduce a surplus of permits in the emissions trading system and curb a trend toward increased coal use, Jochen Flasbarth, president of Germany’s Federal Environment Agency, said at the press conference.

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