Germany says auf wiedersehen to coal
It’s Monday, January 28, and Germany is planning to leave coal in the dust.
In a pioneering effort to curb climate change, Germany has proposed to ditch coal entirely by 2038. That’s all of the country’s 84 coal-based power plants within 20 years.
A 28-member government commission convened in Berlin on Friday to map out the move away from coal. They reached an agreement to spend at least 40 billion euros ($45.7 billion) to create thousands of new jobs in regions that will be hit by the phase-out. If all goes according to plan, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government will sign off and then a quarter of all plants will be shuttered within three years.
Coal still accounts for nearly 40 percent of Germany’s power, making it the last major bastion of coal-burning in northwestern Europe. But the proposed transition would usher in a new era of renewable energy, which Germany will be counting on to provide 65 to 80 percent of its power by 2040.
“A very big industrial nation that depends so much on coal is switching it off,” Claudia Kemfert from DIW Berlin, the German Institute for Economic Research, told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s a big moment for climate policy in Germany that could make the country a leader once again in fighting climate change.”
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