Germany's environment minister has condemned alternative proposals for cutting CO2 emissions from the coal sector. The minister argued that they would result in higher electricity prices and weigh down public funds.
The German economy ministry has suggested penalties for the oldest and most polluting power plants, as part of plans to decrease carbon dioxide emissions from the coal sector by a further 22 million t before 2020.
The industry has heavily condemned this plan, warning that it could put up to 100 000 jobs at risk and result in the closure of lignite-fired power plants.
The mining, chemical and energy trade union IG BCE has suggested commencing a scrappage bonus for old heating systems as an alternative to the coal levy. The union also recommended grants for combined heat and power plants, which are more environmentally friendly.
An alternative economy ministry paper has also suggested promoting combined heat and power plants alongside a programme for electric cars.
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks argues that such recommendations would entail higher costs and noted that the building and transport sectors already had their own targets to reduce their own CO2 emissions.
The original coal levy was designed to forcing coal plant operators to cut emissions as part of a national climate package to stop Germany from falling short of its target to cut greenhouse gases by 40% by 2020, from 1990 levels.
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