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April 2002 - Nr. 4


The Editor
Messestadt Leipzig
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Russian Gala
Musical History
World of Olive Oil
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Ham Se det jehört?
Beethoven's 175th
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Schönste Bücher
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Boris Becker in NY
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Cleaner Environment
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Eiszeit Boot
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West-Oestlicher Diwan
Christian von Krockow
Romance on the Rhine
Third Gold Medal
Students choose Germany
Soccer World Cup Test

German Environmental Policies Yield Remarkable Improvements

  TWIG - Germany’s air, water and soil are markedly cleaner today than they were a decade ago, thanks to the effects of critical policy decisions. While there is still scope for improvement in preserving biological diversity and land use, the Federal Environmental Office in Berlin had plenty of encouraging news to share in its recently published report.

For the first time ever in the Federal Republic, economic advancement has been decoupled from energy consumption. Between 1990 and 2000, Germany’s GDP rose 11% while energy consumption sank 5%. Moreover, during the same period, six "greenhouses gases" have been cut by 18%; the Kyoto Protocol calls for a total reduction of 21% by 2012.

In addition, carbon dioxide emissions were down 11.5%, with a remarkable 2% decrease in the year 2000 alone. "No one can claim that this would have been possible without the ecology tax," said Environment Minister Juergen Trittin, referring to the gasoline tax increase pushed through by the ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Greens.

Further, wind-derived energy, the cleanest power source on earth, has taken off in Germany. Within just three years, Germany’s wind-powered energy plants have tripled their capacity. At present, fully one-third of the world’s wind-power is harnessed at installations in the Federal Republic.

The Environmental Ministry’s study calls for long-term reductions in auto traffic, carbon dioxide emissions and other air pollutants as ways to continue to improve the quality of Germany’s environment. Ministry spokesman Andreas Troge stressed, "It is important for people to consume [energy] differently, not necessarily less."

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