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German Chancellor Angela Merkel pauses during a news conference with Swiss President Didier Burkhalter in Berlin Feb. 18, 2014. (REUTERS/Thomas Peter) German Chancellor Angela Merkel pauses during a news conference with Swiss President Didier Burkhalter in Berlin Feb. 18, 2014. (REUTERS/Thomas Peter)  

CO2 emissions have increased since 2011 despite Germany’s $140 billion green energy plan

Carbon dioxide levels in Germany have been increasing in the last three years despite the government spending nearly $140 billion (100 billion euros) on a green energy since 2005.

The German newspaper Die Zeit writes that Germany won’t be able to meet its emissions reduction target of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Currently, the country has only reduced emissions 23.8 percent below 1990 levels.

The “German government wanted to decrease the emissions of CO2 — also through the transition to renewable energy,” writes Die Zeit. “However our chart shows the opposite is the case. Greenhouse gas emissions have been increasing for three years in Germany, 1.2 percent for last year.”

In 2009, Germany emitted 913 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, mainly due to a lagging economy from the global financial crisis. Last year, the country emitted 951 million metric tons of carbon dioxide despite spending about $138 billion to go green in the last decade.

What’s causing the rise in carbon dioxide emissions? Coal power, according to Die Zeit. The newspaper writes that “CO2 emissions continue to rise as more and more coal and lignite power stations” are brought online and natural gas plants remain uneconomical to operate.

German power prices have been driven to three times what they are in the U.S. and 50 percent higher than the rest of Europe because of green energy tariffs. In order to meet its emission reduction targets, Germany has been taxing businesses and households to subsidize green energy sources, like wind and solar.

But the tax to fund green energy has been increasing rapidly, more than fivefold since 2009 — costing Germans $26 billion last year alone. German industries have also been hit hard with rising power costs and are pushing for reform.

The German government is now looking to reform the green energy law that has caused energy prices to spike. The German cabinet approved amendments to the country’s green law on Tuesday that would contain rising energy costs, reports the Wall Street Journal.

But energy analysts are wary that the amendments don’t go far enough to curb rising energy costs. The reform would still exempt many of the same energy-intensive industries from green taxes as it did before, meaning German households would still bear most of the cost of going green.

“Germany says the exemptions are crucial to keeping its energy-intensive industries competitive, but Brussels fears that too many businesses might have benefited from what it considers state aid,” the WSJ reports. “While the exemptions originally focused on such sectors as steel and machinery engineering, they were later expanded to include less obvious beneficiaries, such as railway operators.”

Germany’s energy and economics minister Sigmar Gabriel said the number of exempted companies was reduce to from 2,000 to about 1,600, and that companies that previously benefited from exemptions have to pay 20 percent of the green tax going forward.

(H/T No Tricks Zone)

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