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German MPs approve billions in aid to offset planned coal phase-out

German regions whose economies rely on coal are to receive 40 billion euros (45 billion dollars) in state aid as the country seeks to transition toward cleaner energy, following a vote in the lower house of parliament.

Berlin, 3 July 2020 (dpa/MIA) — German regions whose economies rely on coal are to receive 40 billion euros (45 billion dollars) in state aid as the country seeks to transition toward cleaner energy, following a vote in the lower house of parliament.

It was the first of two cornerstone bills to go through the Bundestag earlier on Friday, with lawmakers later expected to approve the road map for Germany’s planned phase-out of coal by 2038.

The Bundesrat upper house is also expected to approve the legislation later today.

Germany is heavily reliant on coal, which accounts for around a third of the country’s energy needs.

By comparison, neighboring France gets around three percent of its energy from coal, according to the German Economy Ministry.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has welcomed the gradual coal phase-out, it being vital in Germany’s push to become more environmentally friendly.

However, according to some climate activists and opposition lawmakers, the move is a little too late.

Green party leader Annalena Baerbock said the phase-out must be completed before 2030 and called the governing coalition’s plans “oblivious to the future.”

Lorenz Goesta Beutin, MP of hard-wing party Die Linke, called it a “black day” for the climate, criticizing the billions in compensation that are to be paid out to coal plant operators.

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