Germany’s air pollution is set to worsen for a second year, the first back-to-back increase since at least the 1980s, after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to shut nuclear plants led utilities to burn more coal.
The nation, which is seeking to lead European climate-protection efforts, probably will produce higher greenhouse-gas emissions in 2013 on top of a 1.5 percent gain last year, according to the DIW economic institute, which acts as an adviser to the government.
Utilities led by RWE AG (RWE) and EON SE boosted hard coal imports 25 percent in the first quarter to 10 million metric tons, the nation’s Coal Importers Association said. With elections due in September, the move is a blow to Merkel, a former environment minister who helped negotiate the 1997 Kyoto accord curbing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases…
“Climate change has quite frankly slipped to the back burner of policy priorities,” IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said on June 10.
Coal is favored because the cost of pollution is so low. Certificates to offset a ton of CO2 on the European Union emissions control market have averaged $4.32 so far this year compared with $17.18 in 2008.