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ENERGY

Greenhouse gases rise as Germany burns coal

Germany saw increased emissions in greenhouse gases last year due to more coal and gas usage while the country seeks to develop its renewable energy sources, according to the Federal Environment Agency.

Greenhouse gases rise as Germany burns coal
Photo: DPA

Germany, which has committed to phase out nuclear power, emitted the equivalent of around 931 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2012, or 14 million tonnes more than a year earlier, the agency said on Monday.

“Greenhouse gas emissions in Germany increased slightly in 2012 by 1.6 percent,” it said in a written statement.

“More coal was burned to generate electricity and more gas was used to heat homes, due to the weather,” it added. “The development of renewable energies abated the emissions’ increase however.”

After the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, Germany embarked on an ambitious “energy revolution,” deciding to phase out its nuclear power plants by the end of 2022 and bolster renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind power.

But concerns have mounted that this would entail a sharp rise in electricity prices amid difficulties in building a network able to transmit energy from the North Sea coast to the energy-hungry south of the country.

The agency’s president Jochen Flasbarth said fears that the nuclear exit would spark far greater greenhouse gas emissions had not happened “because, above all, the further development of renewable energies has countered it.”

“However, the trend of again converting more coal into electricity worries me,” he added in the statement.

Germany said that despite the slight increase in emissions in 2012, it had more than met the targets agreed under the Kyoto Protocol, with its greenhouse gas emissions having fallen by 25.5 percent compared to 1990.

AFP/mry

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ENERGY

German households to receive relief for gas costs ‘starting in January’

To help German residents with skyrocketing energy costs, the government is planning to provide relief starting in January, according to draft legislation.

German households to receive relief for gas costs 'starting in January'

Through the gas price cap, the so-called Gaspreisbremse, both German residents and companies will receive retrospective relief for their gas costs starting in January 2023, according to the draft. 

Previously the relief payments were set to stretch between March 2023 and spring 2024, with 25,000 larger businesses, as well as almost 2,000 hospitals and schools to receive the help starting in January. 

READ ALSO: How much could households save under Germany’s new price cap?

The German government is reacting to the sharp rise in energy prices with energy price brakes worth billions and wants to soften the blow on both private households and companies. 

Germany will also be divvying out a one-off energy relief payment in December.

READ ALSO: When will people in Germany get their December gas bill payment?

How much will households and businesses receive?

Under the gas price cap, households and small and medium-sized enterprises are to receive a guaranteed gas gross price of 12 cents per kilowatt hour for 80 percent of their current consumption. For the remaining 20 percent of consumption, the contract price is set to apply.

For district heating, the guaranteed gross price is to be capped at 9.5 cents. 

Starting in January, a gas price brake is also planned for industry. These large consumers are to receive a guaranteed price of 7 cents per kilowatt hour net for 70 percent of their previous consumption volume.

The largest part of the energy price brake is to be financed by a “defence umbrella”, or special reserve, totalling up to €200 billion. The government is still taking on new debt in order to finance the energy caps. 

Russia’s war against Ukraine has increasingly aggravated the situation on the energy markets in Germany and Europe in the course of 2022, the draft states. 

In particular, the recent large price increases for natural gas and heat represent a “considerable, in some cases existence-threatening burden for residents and companies in Germany,” it continued. “They are an enormous socio-political and economic challenge.”

Vocabulary

relief – (die) Entlastung

Natural gas – (das) Erdgas

Consumption – (der) Verbrauch

cushion/soften a blow – abfedern

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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