26 Jul 2021, 12:27
Julian Wettengel

German coal exit will be quicker due to CO2 price – chancellor candidate Laschet


The CO2 price will cause the coal exit in Germany to happen faster than agreed, said conservative chancellor candidate Armin Laschet in an interview with public broadcaster ZDF. “Personally, I believe the exit will happen quicker than we all think due to the CO2 price,” said the candidate currently most likely to succeed Angela Merkel as German leader. However, this did not mean Germany should re-open its hard fought-over compromise to phase out coal by 2038 at the latest. Laschet pointed to the coal commission agreement and said this had taken into account both the ecological and the social consequences. “I believe policymaking has to be reliable. You can’t name 2038 as the exit date in one year and then start again with new dates the next. That’s why I think we should stick with the schedule.” Laschet is state premier of Germany's most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), a key lignite mining state. NRW “could manage [the coal exit] as early as 2030,” said Laschet.

The debate about Germany’s coal exit date has not died down since the coal commission reached its agreement in January 2019. In light of the catastrophic floods that hit Germany, Bavarian state premier Markus Söder (CSU) had reiterated calls for an earlier exit and said the end-date should be renegotiated. Following the decision for more ambitious 2030 greenhouse gas reduction targets in Germany and the EU, there is an ongoing debate about whether or not the German coal exit agreement must be revisited to introduce an earlier exit date. At the same time, many analysts have pointed out that rising CO2 costs could mean an early end for many coal stations without any further government intervention.

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