11 Feb 2019, 14:31
Benjamin Wehrmann

Don’t underestimate symbolic value of German coal exit – op-ed

Project Syndicate

A German commitment to phase out coal by 2038 could have ripple effects far beyond the nation’s borders, Johan Rockström and Owen Gaffney of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Stockholm Resilience Centre argue in an opinion piece for Project Syndicate. “If Germany implements what it has agreed on paper, one should not underestimate the symbolic value of a coal-dependent industrialised economy setting a clear end date for coal,” they say, while “a weak stance on coal could trigger a domino effect – what we call the 'road to hell' scenario,” in which countries like the United States, Brazil, Australia, and even China and India, could use a perceived lack of ambition from Germany and the EU as an excuse to delay their own emissions cuts, or even increase coal use. 

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