COLOGNE, Germany, March 25 (UPI) -- A rural wine-growing county is southern Germany says it is determined to be a carbon-neutral, zero-emission area by 2050.
The Rhineland county of Cochem-Zell in the Mosel River Valley just south of Cologne is part of a rapidly growing effort by rural communities in Europe to reduce CO2 emissions, Deutsche Welle reported Friday.
Rural-level efforts can have a potentially greater impact than large projects such as wind farms and mass-transit systems, Hans-Josef Fell of Germany's Green Party said, "but we need both kinds of projects if we want to meet climate goals."
The European Union has set a goal of reducing emissions by 20 percent by 2020.
The 65,000 residents of Cochem-Zell have been formally working toward environmentally sustainable development since 2003, when the community joined the U.N.-sponsored Local Agenda 21 program.
The county says its zero-emission goal is based on three initiatives: renewable energy, biofuels, and energy conservation and efficiency.
Environmentalists hail the grassroots nature of the movement.
"For decades, there has been a major movement in Germany toward renewable energy," Fell said. "This movement is made up of people, not the old energy industry."