14 Feb 2020, 13:22
Sören Amelang

German coal exit too late, climate targets require completion by 2030 – report

Clean Energy Wire

Germany must exit coal much quicker than planned to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement, according to a report by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). "A coal phase-out in line with international climate protection targets would have to take place by 2030," says the report commissioned by environmental NGO Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND). "In this case, CO2 emissions could be 1.8 billion tonnes less and thus meet the Paris climate targets." The report also calls for a speed-up of Germany's renewables roll-out, and tightening up the country's current target to lower emissions by 65 percent by 2030. "Raising the 2030 target by at least 10-15 percent (in line with the European Commission's plans) would be a first step in this direction," the report says.  

The country's phase-out schedule agreed by the government means the energy industry would use up Germany's emissions budget prematurely, co-author Claudia Kemfert said according to a BUND press release. She added the draft law translated into additional emissions of about 134 million tonnes in comparison with the recommendations of the country's coal commission. "A quick shutdown of hard coal-fired power plants reduces emissions in the short term. However, due to the late shutdown of dirtier lignite-fired power plants, they are then significantly higher than targeted after 2030," BUND said. The report says the commissioning of the controversial hard coal-fired power plant Datteln IV alone will cause an additional 40 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The German cabinet adopted the coal exit law in January, more than one year after the multi-stakeholder coal exit commission recommended an end to coal-fired power generation in the country by 2038 at the very latest. The coal exit law – now to be debated in parliament – translates the coal exit commission’s energy policy recommendations into German law. But former commission members now say the roadmap violates the coal compromise.

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