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Minister: shutting down coal plants 'unrealistic'

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Photo: DPA
09:00 CET+01:00
Vice-Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel declared that getting rid of coal is unrealistic in the short term in a position paper released on Tuesday.

"One cannot get out of nuclear and coal-powered energy simultaneously. Those who want that ensure soaring electricity costs, supply insecurity and the migration of a large part of German industry," the Social Democratic (SPD) politician warned.

He also said it was dangerous to pit natural and conventional energy sources against one another in the energy revolution.

"We have to end the illusion of the current German energy policy," he said, referring to the German plan to step away from nuclear energy by 2022 and coal power by 2020.

Gabriel's statement is in opposition to his SPD colleague, Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, whose goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels.

"I am above all confident that the question of which energy plants stay power is a decision that should be made by their operators and not the state," he said.

Meanwhile in Hamburg, the environmental activist group Robin Wood delayed the arrival of a ship carrying uranium ore to France, calling on mayor Olaf Scholz to stop the transport of the radioactive rocks through the city's port.

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Environmental activist group Greenpeace dumped eight tons of coal at the doors of Gabriel's Economy Ministry last week in a challenge to his support for coal.

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