German coal phase-out criticised but welcomed on whole

(EurActiv, 29 Jan 2019) Green activists have criticised the German coal commission’s goal of phasing out coal by 2038, saying it is too late. But environmentalists and industry representatives at least agree it could lead the way for other countries. EURACTIV Germany reports.

The negotiations were tough, most recently involving a 21-hour-long meeting to wrangle over the final dates for phasing out coal. But, measured against the various interests that are dependent on the powerful coal sector, the coal commission’s compromise announced on Saturday (26 January) morning was positively received by the vast majority.

German Federal Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Svenja Schulze (SPD), said there had been “very, very good work” and her colleague from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier also praised the outcome.

“By the way, phasing out coal is just ONE part of what has to happen in total for #climateprotection. We also need the capacity for compromise and the will to find solutions in other areas like transport or agriculture. We’ll make sure of this by establishing a climate protection law,” Schulze tweeted.

Altmaier left the question of whether the German government would stick to its objectives open for now. He added the ministry would need a few days to review the report in detail.

“We are ready to make a very quick start with respect to funding,” he told the public broadcaster ARD. He said there was already an initial budget for this, with €1.5 billion a year available until 2021 for an immediate programme in the German federal budget.

But this could not happen overnight. Altmaier added that “we will need a number of laws” and that this process would take at least a few months.

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EurActiv, 29 Jan 2019: German coal phase-out criticised but welcomed on whole