Germany’s coalition approves energy plan to replace coal and cut emissions

Reforming energy policy announced first priority for new government, which wants to reduce gas dependency and cut CO2 emissions from 2040

Germany’s incoming coalition government announced on Tuesday its first priority is to reform energy policy in order to replace coal with renewable energy and reduce gas dependency.

Germany’s coalition agreement, which also included plans to legalise cannabis, was approved by the parliamentary committees on Monday, ending more than three weeks of uncertainty.

“Our motto is close to the nation – energy that breathes and can use,” the country’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, told reporters after the parliamentary talks on Tuesday. “The previous government’s energy policy cost jobs, raised energy prices, damaged the environment and was too dependent on fossil fuels.”

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Laying out plans to close ageing coal-fired power plants and introduce renewable energy, and fighting climate change, the coalition agreement said: “Germany will lead the European Union in the fight against climate change and renewable energy.”

The plans envisage that 60% of power will be generated by renewables by 2030, the aim is to turn 100% of road transport vehicles into electric by 2030 and phase out nuclear and coal-fired power plants by 2040.

In a swathe of environmental pledges, the government said it would permanently move to a lower temperature maximum, reducing average winter temperatures by between 0.1 and 0.2C, and cutting average summer temperatures by between 0.1 and 0.2C.

Environment minister Svenja Schulze, a member of the Greens party, said the long-term plans will guarantee that Germany does not become isolated and that it can become energy self-sufficient, establishing an economy where other countries can also buy and sell energy.

“Our coalition is the strongest possible in order to do this because it includes a big part of the governing coalition,” she told reporters.

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