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German cabinet agrees on raft of energy-saving laws

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German cabinet agrees on raft of energy-saving laws
Photo: DPA
16:14 CEST+02:00
The German cabinet on Wednesday adopted new measures aimed at cutting the country's carbon dioxide emissions by more than a third by 2020, the environment ministry said.

The package includes laws aimed at lowering electricity consumption, particularly in private homes, and proposes calculating tolls for vehicles according to their emission levels, the ministry said in a statement.

It stipulates that from 2009, all new and renovated buildings will have to comply with stricter energy efficiency standards and provides for the introduction of easy-to-use private electricity meters.

The package also includes a new law that links the way heating costs are calculated more closely to individual household consumption, rather than the average figure for a particular apartment block.

"Our goal is to move away from oil and gas to embrace renewable energy and energy efficiency," Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said.

On June 6 the German lower house of parliament adopted a first chapter of climate protection laws that aims to increase the amount of power generated by renewable energy sources like wind or solar power to 30 percent from the current 14 percent by 2020.

It also seeks to double the amount of electricity generated by combined heat and power (CHP) or cogeneration, which uses excess heat from power stations, to 25 percent in the next 12 years.

The government's goal is to reduce Germany's carbon dioxide emission levels by 40 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels -- double the minimum percentage cut agreed by the 27 European Union member states last year.

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