Germany to promote renewables, curb GM use

18th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

18 June 2004, BERLIN - To the applause of environmentalists, the German Bundestag parliament Friday passed two wide-reaching bills on promoting renewable energy sources and on restricting the sowing of genetically modified crops.

18 June 2004

BERLIN - To the applause of environmentalists, the German Bundestag parliament Friday passed two wide-reaching bills on promoting renewable energy sources and on restricting the sowing of genetically modified crops.

The renewable energy bill sailed through parliament after a compromise committee was able to reach agreement late Thursday on watered-down wording amenable to moderates and conservatives, who control the Bundesrat upper house of parliament.

Now assured of Bundesrat approval, the law could go into effect 1 August, offering federal funding to promote development of solar, wind, hydro-electric and other renewable energy sources.

However, critics said the bill was watered down to the extent that wind-power projects in flat coastal regions will be given priority over those in hilly regions of central and southern Germany, where most Germans live.

Earlier, Germany's centre-left coalition government pushed stiff new restrictions on genetically-modified crops through parliament over opposition from conservatives.

The legislation, introduced by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats and their Greens coalition partners, makes farmers who use genetically modified grain liable for any cross-pollination of adjacent non-GM fields.

The law is aimed at ensuring that non-GM fields remain free of genetic modification.

But the legislation faces an uphill battle in the Bundesrat upper house of parliament which is dominated by conservative Christian Democrats.

In sometimes heated debate in the Bundestag on Friday, conservatives blasted the legislation as ineffectual and unenforceable. They said it would hinder efforts to allow GM crop production to go ahead side-by-side with conventional farming.

DPA

Subject: German news

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