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25 Jul 2019, 14:54
Benjamin Wehrmann

Members of Germany’s coal exit commission criticise slow and inert implementation

Some six months after Germany’s coal exit commission tabled its proposal to phase out the fuel by 2038, commission members have criticised the government’s lack of progress on implementing the plan. Responding to a survey of commission members – representing industry, academia and civil society – by news agency dpa, environmental groups said Germany’s dirtiest coal plants must be closed by the end of this year. Martin Kaiser of Greenpeace Germany said the government “and especially economy minister Peter Altmaier” was failing to meet “the coal exit’s most important goal – to quickly and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions”. Industry players, meanwhile, argued that the rising cost of power to companies still demanded attention. Trade union representatives wanted to see transition payments to coal workers paid out soon. Eric Schweitzer, head of industrial commerce chamber DIHK said the commission had made a balanced proposal, that must now be implemented. 

Earlier this month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the government was working on putting the coal exit commission’s proposals into law by September and would decide on a strategy to cut coal use before the end of the year. Economy minister Peter Altmaier said the decision over which hard coal plants to shut down first will be taken via tenders, and that the government was in talks with lignite mine and plant operators to agree on a roadmap.  

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