BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s ca-binet on Wednesday agreed plans to cut CO2 emissions by up to 78 million tonnes by 2020, pushing operators to shut some coal-fired plants, to help Europe’s biggest economy meet bold targets to fight climate change, government sources said.
The broad package, which inclu-des an energy efficiency program-me, is essential if Chancellor Angel Merkel is to avoid the embarrass-ment of missing her government’s goal of a 40 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.
The government has said sectors from power to transport must step up efforts if Germany is to meet the target, more ambitious than the EU’s goal of a 40 per cent reduction by 2030.
“The energy package has gone through,” said one government source. Details will be released at a news conference later.
Conservative Merkel has made Germany’s shift towards renewable energy and away from nuclear and fossil fuels a top domestic priority, a move accelerated by Japan’s Fu-kushima nuclear disaster in 2011 although launched under her Social Democratic predecessor Gerhard Schroeder in 2000.
The closely watched experiment has hit traditional energy firms, as shown by utility E.ON’s radical deci-sion this week to spin off its power plants to focus on renewable and electricity grids.