Coal region mayors criticise new German government’s faster 2030 phase-out plan
Leaders from the east German coal-mining region of Lusatia have criticised the incoming coalition government’s plan to phase out the fossil fuel by 2030 instead of 2038, newspaper Der Tagesspiegel reports. Local mayors as well as business representatives argue that the entire structural transformation of the region will be put in jeopardy by the change of plans, and are demanding meetings with the new government. "We feel run over," says Christine Herntier, non-party mayor of the town of Spremberg in the state of Brandenburg. "What are we supposed to tell the people here?" She added that the new plans have been greeted with incomprehension, and that she worries the news will exacerbate the region's existing issues with depopulation. The previous phase out date of 2038 at the latest was established three years ago by the Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment (KWSB). Herntier complained that since then too little has happened, with structural change taking place slowly and subsidies being invested “in the wrong places.”
The prospective new German government of the Social Democrats (SPD), the Green Party and the Free Democrats (FDP) in its coalition treaty had stated it “ideally” wants to pull the phase-out forward by eight years. While climate researchers argue an earlier end to coal-fired power production is a prerequisite for fulfilling Germany’s ambitious emissions reduction plans and largely is in line with market developments, conservative opposition politicians have encouraged people in coal regions to protest against a faster phase-out.