Germany’s coal phase out plans must accelerate to meet Paris goals

(EurActiv, 4 Feb 2019) Germany needs to phase out coal-fired power by 2030 in order to maximise the economic and social benefits of the zero-carbon transition, and deliver its commitment as part of the Paris Agreement, writes Nigel Topping.

Nigel Topping is CEO of the We Mean Business Coalition, a global nonprofit organisation working with the world’s most influential businesses to take action on climate change.

Germany’s hard-won compromise to phase out coal-fired power from its energy mix no later than 2035-2038 is a welcome first step. It sends a clear signal of the direction of travel towards the zero-carbon energy system of the future and this recommendation should quickly be approved and translated into law.

However, the speed of the switch away from coal has to accelerate if Germany is to maximise the economic and social benefits of the zero-carbon transition, and deliver its commitment as part of the Paris Agreement.

For Germany to harness this potential, it needs to step up its ambition and phase out coal-fired power by 2030.

The market will likely deliver the end of coal in Germany earlier than the proposed 2035-2038 timeline, thanks to the ongoing cost reductions in renewables, growing demand from businesses to be powered by clean energy and a host of other reasons.

By embracing this momentum and setting bold policies to implement the coal phase-out, the German government can demonstrate to business that it backs their efforts to accelerate progress towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. It can also deliver the policy landscape that will encourage corporate access to markets for renewable electricity.

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EurActiv, 4 Feb 2019: Germany’s coal phase out plans must accelerate to meet Paris goals