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Environmental groups slam German government's energy, climate deal

Green groups have criticised a deal between Germany's 3 governing parties on energy and climate policies, saying Wednesday that it risks watering down essential measures to curb global warming

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Environmental groups have criticised a deal between Germany's three governing parties on energy and climate policies, saying Wednesday that it risks watering down essential measures to curb global warming.
The agreement announced Tuesday followed three days of intense haggling and weeks of discord that threatened to paralyse Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government.
It eases requirements for new home heating systems and allows for the construction and expansion of Germany's highways, while also providing more money for the country's rail network.
But Germany's BUND environmental group accused Scholz of giving in to expensive false solutions and ignoring warnings contained in a recent UN climate report about the need for drastic action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Accelerating the planning process for up to 144 Autobahn projects is a fatal signal at a time of climate crisis, the group's head, Olaf Brandt, said.
Brandt also criticised planned subsidies for synthetic vehicle fuels, or e-fuels, arguing they would promote a technology that is inefficient and expensive compared to electric cars that run on batteries.
The environmental group Germanwatch also expressed disappointment with the agreement, calling it a step back not forward for climate protection. The group claimed the government's plans would create loopholes that weaken the rules by which Germany seeks to meet its climate goals.
The deal received support from the Federation of German Industries, a powerful lobbying group known by its German acronym BDI. The umbrella group welcomed the government's decision to allow vehicles powered by e-fuels and the installation of conventional gas heaters if they can be converted to use hydrogen or biofuels.
Speaking to lawmakers Wednesday, Scholz said the agreement would ensure that nobody is left alone as Germany seeks to become climate neutral by 2045.
Addressing the centre-right opposition party of former Chancellor Angela Merkel, who governed Germany for 16 years, Scholz said, "The stagnation of the past decades, which we owe to conservative policies, is finally over."

A senior German government official cautioned that the new rules for heating systems should not obscure the fact that electric heat pumps favoured by environmentalists are cheaper in the long run than gas furnaces because of the predicted rise in fossil fuel prices in the coming years.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mar 29 2023 | 9:18 PM IST

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