26 Feb 2019, 14:13
Benjamin Wehrmann

Majority in Germany’s largest coal state say coal exit should come sooner


A slim majority of 51 percent of citizens in Germany’s largest coal state, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), say the 2038 deadline to give up all coal-fired power production in the country is “too late”, according to a survey commissioned by public broadcaster WDR. A quarter of those surveyed said the date, proposed by Germany’s Coal Commission, was “just right” while 18 percent said it was “too early.” Among Green voters, 81 percent were in favour of an earlier exit date, compared to 57 percent of Social Democrats (SPD) voters. In the same survey, 92 percent of respondents in NRW backed school children striking to demand Germany do more to protect the climate, with Left Party and Green voters showing the highest levels of support, and voters for the pro-business Free Democratic Party and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU most opposed to the protests.

NRW, Germany’s most populous federal state, has historically been a heart of the country’s coal industry and still relies economically on heavy industry powered largely by centralised plants. Environmental organisations say the German coal exit should initially focus on decommissioning plants in NRW, which is home to the majority of Germany’s oldest and most polluting facilities.

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