EU Carbon Price Fall Prevents Climate Investments, Germany Says

The decline in European emissions prices failed to spark company investments in technologies that protect the climate, the German Environment Ministry said.

While Germany has cut greenhouse-gas emissions 27 percent compared with 1990 levels to outperform by 6 percentage points the country’s target under the Kyoto Protocol, reductions have been slowing in recent years, the country’s Environment Ministry said today in an e-mailed statement, citing data from the Federal Environment Agency.

Energy and industrial companies reduced their emissions by just 5 percent since 2005 as low prices in the European Union’s emissions trading system haven’t encouraged new investments in climate-protection technologies, it said. The price of EU permits for December dropped to a record 5.75 euros ($7.70) a metric ton on Jan. 14, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg.

Reaching the government’s target to lower emissions 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 “will require additional action,” Environment Minister Peter Altmaier said in the statement. “Each sector must contribute fairly.”

German greenhouse gas emissions fell 2.9 percent in 2011 from the previous year as less fossil fuels were burned for heating amid milder weather, the ministry said. Meanwhile, emissions from the transportation sector are rising slightly, said Jochen Flasbarth, head of the Federal Environment Agency.

“Germany should work toward adjusting the EU emissions trading budget so the energy sector and industry invest more in climate protection,” he said.

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