Germany: How Europe's biggest economy quits coal

We are inviting: Energy, environmental or climate policy journalists from Southeast Asia
16 Jun - 19 Jun 2019
North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
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Clean Energy Wire is inviting journalists from Southeast Asia to take a closer look at the German coal exit. On a four-day study tour in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) – Germany's most populous state and home to energy company RWE and the embattled Hambach Forest – we will talk to government officials and policymakers, miners, environmentalists, journalists, business leaders and energy policy experts. Application deadline was May 6. Applicants will be informed of the outcome by 14 May.

Open pit mine Garzweiler_Skywalk. Photo: Carel Mohn/CLEW

Overview

The detailed programme will be published soon here.

Coal has long powered Europe’s biggest economy. Despite Germany’s enthusiastic uptake of renewables, the country still uses and mines more coal than any other in Europe. Now, Germany has officially set in motion the process of giving up the carbon-heavy fuel.

With greenhouse gas emissions stubbornly high, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government set up the coal commission last year to devise a plan to transform the German economy for the post-coal era. After months of fraught negotiation, the commission recommended shutting down the last coal-fired power plant by 2038 at the very latest.

Yet this is not the beginning of the coal exit story. Following a 2007 agreement between government, industry and unions, Germany closed its last hard coal mine in 2018, bringing an end to 200 years of extracting the fossil fuel that made German industrialisation possible, but was less and less economically viable. However, Germany is still the world’s biggest producer of carbon-intensive lignite, or brown coal. It has three active lignite mining regions, where many jobs and livelihoods depend on the fuel.

Germany is not alone. Giving up coal is a global imperative. So what can other countries in Europe and beyond learn from the country of the Energiewende?

How will Merkel’s government turn the coal commission’s recommendations into effective legislation? How will lignite mining regions use the promised 40 billion euros in government support to restructure their economies over the next two decades? Should the German state doll out big compensation payments to the energy companies whose power plants and mines will have to be wound down? And how will party politics influence the process as east German coal regions head to the polls?

For this research tour we cooperate with the Climate Council Australia, which will bring Australian journalists to Germany to join the tour.

 

Frequently asked questions on logistics, documents and costs

1
Who can attend and how do I apply?

Energy, environmental or climate policy journalists from Southeast Asia can participate. By submitting your application, you agree that your name, medium, country of residence and e-mail address will appear on the list shared with all participants. Application is possible via the form on our website. Please apply by clicking on the red  'Apply Here' button above. The deadline for applications is 6 May 2019. We will inform you of the outcome of your application no later than 14 May 2019. Please make sure to have access to your e-mail, and check the spam folder. If your application has been sucessful you will receive a confirmation e-mail from CLEW not later than 14 May. In that event please confirm your participation until 16 May. Otherwise we will give your place to another applicant.

2
What languages will be spoken?

Presentations during the workshop will be in either English or German. German-English simultaneous interpretation will be provided when necessary.

3
What about the costs?

Participation in the research tour is free of charge. All expenses incurred during the tour, including food, accommodation, and transport, will be covered by Clean Energy Wire (starting with the official programm on Sunday afternoon and ending with the official last programme point on Wednesday afternoon).

 

4
What about travel arrangements during the tour?

Local transport during the tour will be organised by Clean Energy Wire. Participants are kindly asked to organise their own travel to and from Germany.

 

5
What about travel arrangements to Germany and back?

Participants are kindly asked to organise their own travel to and from Germany independently. The research tour will start Sunday afternoon in Cologne, Germany and will end Wednesday afternoon in Cologne, Germany.

6
Will Clean Energy Wire cover participants´ travel expenses, visa fees, and insurance?

We would kindly ask you to make your own travel arrangements (economy class), which we will then reimburse after the research tour upon the submission of your receipts. If your application has been successful, we will send you a reimbursement form. Please bring the travel receipts and the form, printed and signed, to Germany. It is not possible to reimburse the travel expenses in cash. The earlier we receive all necessary documents, the earlier we can start the reimbursement process.

We do not reimburse visa fees or insurance costs.

7
What are the deadlines?

The deadline for applications is 6 May 2019.

We will inform you of the outcome of your application no later than 9 May 2019. Please make sure to have access to your e-mail, and check the spam folder. If your application has been sucessful you will receive a confirmation e-mail from CLEW not later than 9 May. In that event please confirm your participation until 12 May. Otherwise we will give your place to another applicant.

8
What can I do if I need a visa?

If you would like us to provide you with a letter of invitation for your visa application, please send an e-mail to event@cleanenergywire.org. Please make sure you have a visa appointment at the embassy or consulate well before the research tour to leave enough time for processing your visa.

9
I get an error message saying I’m over the character limit, but I don’t think this is correct.

The character limit is specified in the boxes. Note that it includes paragraph breaks. If you have removed all paragraph breaks and are otherwise 100% certain that you are below the limit specified, try using a different Internet server. For example, if you have previously tried submitting unsuccessfully via Google Chrome, try Internet Explorer.

10
I have submitted an application but have not received a confirmation of receipt.

Please check your spam folder for an automatically generated email, which asks you to confirm that you indeed submitted an application.

You will then hear from CLEW regarding the outcome of your application no later than May 9.

11
Questions?

Don't hesitate to get in contact with our programme officer, Ms. Eva Freundorfer (event@cleanenergywire.org).

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