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31 Jan 2019, 14:15
Sören Amelang

Climate activists in coal commission say proposed exit path violates Paris targets

Clean Energy Wire

Climate activist members of Germany’s coal exit commission have said the task force’s phase out plan violates international climate targets. “Neither the planned final exit date 2038 nor the vague path until 2030 are sufficient for an adequate contribution to climate protection from the energy sector,” read a declaration by the commission members Martin Kaiser (Greenpeace), Kai Niebert (umbrella NGO DNR), Hubert Weiger (Friends of the Earth Germany, BUND) and Antje Grothus (Climate-Alliance Germany). [This is the full list of members.]

In a dissenting vote, the four commission members rejected the coal exit timetable. The commission had “missed the great opportunity to combine ambitious climate protection with future-proof regional and economic development,” their statement read. But the members said they supported the compromise in general “in order to break Germany’s climate policy standstill of the past years” and because it implies a “clear entry into the phase-out through 2022” and recommends the preservation of the embattled Hambach Forest. They stressed that the commission agreement meant that more than a quarter of Germany’s installed coal power capacity would be shut down between 2019 and 2022, but added that it was urgently necessary to specify the exit path from 2023 to 2029. “From a climate protection perspective, an exit by 2030 would be necessary.”

An analysis by UK-based climate and energy website CarbonBrief also said the coal exit deal clearly breaches Paris climate goals. If the German government adopts the commission recommendations for a coal exit by 2038, coal capacity would barely fall faster than a business-as-usual pathway over the next decade because ageing coal-fired power stations would be expected to retire anyway due to old age, according to CarbonBrief's Simon Evans.

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