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The German government approved on 3 December a new plan to cut carbon emissions in order to meet its climate targets — a 40 per cent drop in emissions by 2020 compared to the 1990 levels, reports Die Tageszeitung. The European Union as a whole is aiming to reach that target by 2030.

The plan, which German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks calls the “most comprehensive climate package ever passed by a government”, represents investments of €80bn, notes the Berlin daily. It includes cutting coal plant emissions by at least 22 million tonnes (the equivalent of shutting eight plants), with an additional “18 million tonnes to come from the industry, especially through greater efficiency. Climate-friendly buildings will contribute by 6 to 10 million tonnes; the transport sector by 7 to 10 million tonnes; agriculture by 3.6 million and commercial and waste management by 3 to 8 million.” Incentives for electric cars have also been announced.

Though environmental organisations generally welcomes the announcement as a positive step, they criticised the government for not going further in reducing its reliance on coal-fired power plants.