Energy minister says German coal exit must set example for successful decarbonisation
The phase-out of coal-fired power production in Germany must become a model case for other countries that want to reconcile economic prosperity with an effective reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, economy and energy minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) has said at a public appearance with coal state leaders in the eastern German coal mining region of Lusatia. “The countries that are able to do it have to show developing countries how CO2 output can be lowered. Countries like Germany must take the lead here,” Altmaier said.
He said it is important for the commission tasked with planning Germany’ coal exit and with finding economic prospects for the affected regions to demonstrate that the state can manage the situation, and that things can get better after fossil fuels have been phased out. “This structural economic change we’re facing here is different from previous changes, which were all driven by economic development. This structural change is based on a global political decision,” Altmaier said.
He reiterated his idea that Lusatia could benefit from a European initiative for battery cell production on the continent, adding that he would seek to achieve an exemption from EU subsidy law. Michael Kretschmer (CDU), state premier of the coal state of Saxony, said the “key question” regarding Germany’s coal exit was “how to turn a lignite region into an innovation hub.” His counterpart from the neighbouring coal state of Brandenburg, SPD politician Dietmar Woidke, positioned himself as a protector of the region’s mining heritage. “Those who call lignite a climate killer insult the people of this region,” Woidke said.
For background, read the CLEW article Commission watch – Managing Germany’s coal phase-out and the factsheet Germany’s coal exit commission.