Germany eyes capping coal use to meet emissions target
Germany aims to limit coal use in electricity production to meet the country's target in cutting Earth-warming carbon emissions, according to a document seen by AFP Monday.
Sigmar Gabriel, minister for the economy and energy, will propose that electricity producers reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 4.4 million tonnes a year between 2016 and 2020.
Germany, which generates 46 percent of its electricity from coal, aims by 2020 to curb its carbon emissions by 40 percent from three decades earlier.
Until last week, Gabriel had argued that Germany could not limit its coal use while also phasing out nuclear power following a groundbreaking decision taken after Japan's 2011 Fukushima disaster.
His view had put him at odds with Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, who has said that if Europe's largest economy does not reduce its coal use it has no chance of meeting the 2020 target.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet plans to consider the left-right coalition government's climate action plan on December 3.
By mid-century Germany aims to meet 80 percent of its power needs with renewables such as wind, solar and biogas, which now generate around a quarter.
But an unintended consequence of the "Energiewende", or energy transition, has been a rise in the use of coal.
© 2014 AFP