Sian Crampsie

The German government has bowed to pressure from big industry and will reduce 2020 emissions targets for coal fired power plants, according to a report by news agency Reuters.

An economy ministry document seen by the newswire indicates that the government has altered plans forcing coal-fired power plant operators to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The move follows protests in Berlin last month by thousands of coal industry workers who claim that the plans to place a levy on the oldest and most polluting coal-fired power plants would result in thousands of job losses.

RWE has also said that the levy would lead to the immediate closure of its lignite-fired power plants in Germany.

The levy is designed to help Germany meet its greenhouse gas emission target of a 40 % reduction over 1990 levels by 2020. News reports indicate that the government has cut coal-fired power plant operators’ emission reduction target to 16 million tonnes by 2020 instead of 22 million tonnes.

The new proposal has also increased the amount of CO2 that older power stations can emit before the levy is applied.