ROUNDUP / Coal phase-out: First projects started with federal aid in districts
An industrial site at sunrise (symbolic image). pixabay.com
BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – Federal aid for the regions affected by the coal phase-out is slowly starting. So far, seven projects with a volume of 80.5 million have been started within the framework of the financial aid, according to a report by the managing minister of economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) for the federal cabinet. A total of 175 projects with a volume of 3.01 billion euros have been confirmed.
The grand coalition had agreed to phase out the extraction and combustion of the climate-damaging coal by 2038 at the latest. In order to help the coal fields in East Germany and North Rhine-Westphalia with change, up to 40 billion euros are to flow. The federal government alone wants to create 5,000 jobs in the regions by 2028 by completely or partially relocating the authorities. According to the report, 2140 positions are already filled.
Altmaier sees the start of the aid as a success. A distinction is made between financial aid – that is 14 billion euros – and structural aid – that is 26 billion euros. The report shows the planning status and usage until the end of August.
Of the financial aid planned up to then, 1.183 billion euros are to flow into the Lausitz district in Brandenburg and 498 million euros into the Lausitz district in Saxony. For the Central German district in Saxony, 336 million euros were planned and for the Central German district in Saxony-Anhalt 805 million euros. For the Rheinische Revier it was 191 million euros. The seven projects that have already started can only be found in Saxony.
An administrative agreement was only reached in August on the structural aid for the sites of hard coal power stations and former lignite mining areas. The federal government is now awaiting proposals from the federal states. According to the report, however, he has already planned 40 measures under his own responsibility with a volume of 10.96 billion euros.
How quickly the money can be used and whether it really helps to make up for job losses could be of crucial importance in the climate debate. The planned traffic light coalition of the SPD, Greens and FDP wants to “ideally” bring the coal phase out to 2030. The political pressure is great because otherwise Germany could miss its climate targets. However, there is criticism from the affected states of Saxony, Brandenburg and North Rhine-Westphalia because more time is needed for structural change. The incumbent CDU chairman Armin Laschet also opposed the shortened schedule.
The President of the Federal Environment Agency, Dirk Messner, spoke out in favor of using European emissions trading for a coal phase-out by 2030. “The prices through EU emissions trading have already contributed to making coal-fired power generation less attractive in 2019 and 2020,” Messner told the newspapers of the Funke media group (Wednesday). A reform and tightening of emissions trading, as the EU Commission is now planning, will help end coal-fired power generation in Germany earlier.
“It is quite possible that it will not need an amendment to the exit law,” said Messner. “A market-driven exit would also be the more elegant solution, because a new exit law will reopen a major social conflict.” / Vsr / DP / zb
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