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New domestic rules on green genetic technology are proving contentious. The state of Saxony-Anhalt intends to submit the legislation to the Constitutional Court, the opposition is calling for the revision of the rules, and even the European Commission has raised doubts as to whether the law complies with the Directive on the Deliberate Release of Genetically Modified Organisms.

The European Commission has accepted the German national allocation plan for emissions allowance trading, on condition that some technical changes are made. If these conditions are met by the end of 2004, the plan will automatically be accepted. However, critics have condemned the so-called 'transfer provision' of the emissions rights scheme, arguing that it will distort competition.

The German government has undertaken to double the share of renewable energy supply by 2010, to help meet its Kyoto targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Numerous initiatives launched in recent years have boosted the use of renewable energy sources, although there is still a long way to go before these targets are reached.

Germany's federal structure and deficiencies in the implementation of Natura 2000, the EU nature conservation regime, have proved problematic, resulting in various court rulings at both EU and member state level. The federal legislation has also had unexpectedly restrictive effects on business development projects.

Government efforts to support renewable energy have resulted not only in a considerable increase in the percentage of renewable energy, but also in the creation of 130,000 jobs - more than the coal and nuclear energy sectors combined. Proposed legislative amendments to the Federal Renewable Energy Sources Law will help to prepare Germany for the energy use challenges the future holds.

As the percentage of reusable beverage packaging on the German market has fallen dramatically below the requisite threshold, Germany is set to introduce an obligatory deposit scheme for one-way beverage packaging. Manufacturers and distributors are up in arms and have challenged the deposit scheme in an avalanche of court proceedings.

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