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16 Jun 2020, 14:50
Benjamin Wehrmann

Coal state pushes for finalising disputed German phase-out law

MDR / Clean Energy Wire

The German coal exit law should be finalised quickly and get parliamentary approval before the summer break in early July, the state premier of mining state Saxony-Anhalt has said in a podcast by public broadcaster MDR. "We made these decisions many months ago and people have only accepted it because we said that, besides the phase-out, there will also be a concept for creating new jobs," Haseloff said, arguing that investments in new economic structures in coal mining regions can only go ahead if the legal situation has been clarified. If a decision is delayed until after the break, the political focus may shift towards the upcoming elections in September 2021, meaning that a secure footing for long-term funding promised for the coal exit is becoming ever more urgent, he added.
At the same time, environmental groups, researchers and others are criticising the draft law still is deeply flawed and deviates considerably from the agreement found by Germany's coal exit commission in early 2019. At a hearing in the parliament's environment committee, Kai Niebert of environmental umbrella group DNR said the planned phase-out roadmap needs to be revised to be compatible with EU climate targets, arguing that the proposed roadmap has nothing to do with the coal commission's compromise. Michael Pahle of climate research institute PIK cautioned that a national coal exit will remain without effect if its implications for the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) are not properly accounted for.

Germany has officially launched its  coal phase-out, but key parts of the necessary legislation are still missing. Former coal commission members have repeatedly criticised the government's proposed coal exit law for deviating from the compromise while energy market analysts have suggested the proposed roadmap could actually keep coal-fired power production in the country alive longer than market forces would allow.

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