CO2 emissions from energy consumption in Germany fell by nearly 1% in 2004 from the previous year to a good 834 million tonnes. However, taking into account temperature effects and the reduction in stocks of light heating oil in 2004, which was considerable but is not reflected in the statistics, emissions remained practically unchanged. So the tendency to only a moderate reduction in emissions, that has been apparent for some years now, continued. Nevertheless, Germany is still one of the few industrial countries where CO2 emissions are now lower than at the start of the 1990s.2 Energyinduced CO2 emissions have been reduced by nearly 16% since the (internationally agreed) base year 1990. But as the reduction has been only slight since the mid-1990s the Federal Government's former national reduction target of lowering CO2 emissions by one quarter from the 1990 level by 2005 has now been abandoned. However, the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions so that within the period 2008 to 2012 they will be 21% lower as a whole than in the base year 1990 or 1995 has been made binding in international law.3 This results from the European 'burden sharing' to achieve the targets in the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, which became binding in international law on 16 February 2005. Greenhouse gas emissions in Germany were reduced by 18.5% - actually around 19% after temperature adjustment - by 2003 from the base year, mainly due to a greater reduction in methane emissions compared with CO2. However, total greenhouse gas emissions have scarcely altered since the end-1990s, so unless the climate protection measures are continued with persistence there is a risk of failing to meet the target for 2008/2012 as well. So there is still considerable need for action. Emissions trading could make a crucial contribution, if appropriate limits for emissions are made binding.