IN A pioneering move, a German government-appointed panel has recommended that Germany stop burning coal to generate electricity by 2038 at the latest, as part of efforts to curb climate change.
The Coal Commission reached a deal early Saturday following months of wrangling that were closely watched by other coal-dependent countries.
“We made it,” Ronald Pofalla, the head of the commission, told reporters in Berlin. “This is a historic effort.”
Germany gets more than a third of its electricity from burning coal, generating large amounts of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
The 28-member panel, representing mining regions, utility companies, scientists and environmentalists, suggests a review in 2032 could bring forward the coal deadline to 2035.
The plan foresees billions in federal funding to help affected regions cope with the economic impact, and to shield industry and consumers from higher electricity prices. The energy transition will also need a huge overhaul and modernization of the country’s power grid, the commission’s members said. The decision still needs government approval.
“The whole world is watching how Germany—a nation based on industry and engineering, the fourth largest economy on our planet—is taking the historic decision of phasing out coal,” said Johan Rockstroem, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research. “This could cascade globally, locking in the fastest energy transition in history.”
“New jobs will be created through structural measures in the coal mining regions,” Pofalla said. “We will keep up secure and affordable energy supply and the agreement will lead to sustainable climate protection in Germany.” (AP)