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ClientEarth Communications

2nd May 2019

Fossil fuels

Our draft law provides German coal phase out blueprint

We have teamed up with Greenpeace Germany to launch a draft law which would provide a blueprint for Germany to phase out coal.

We launched the draft law today at a press conference in Berlin. The country’s Coal Commission issued recommendations in January this year but negotiations on Germany’s coal exit have so far been sluggish.

The Commission’s recommendations do not guarantee a coal phase out in Germany. Our draft law with Greenpeace Germany could be used by the country’s Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier, as a proposal for delivering a coal exit law to parliament.

The Head of our Germany office, Prof Dr Hermann Ott, said: "Many believe that the coal exit is a done deal. But the Coal Commission has only come out with recommendations. What we need now is a law that secures them.

And as the government is not coming up with the required law, we have designed one ourselves.

“There can be no more excuses for the government’s inaction. We need to see a coal exit law and we need to see it this year, independent from the negotiations between the Ministry of Economic Affairs and energy companies. Because if those negotiations fall through, it will be too late to start designing a law.”

Greenpeace’s climate expert Karsten Smid added: "None of the Parties in government seem to be determined to implement the Coal Commission's recommendations. Our proposal now paves the way."

Read the full draft law in German here

A phase-out that puts people and the climate first

The proposed law builds on the recommendations of the Coal Commission by setting out a concrete three-step route to end coal-fired power in Germany.

The phase-out includes closing 5GW of coal capacity in North Rhine-Westphalia by 2022. This would not only prevent the felling of the now famous Hambach Forest but also protect villagers that stand to lose their homes.

The subsequent two phases take a plant-by-plant approach, by progressively taking power plants offline with the aim of a complete withdrawal from coal by 2030, latest 2035.

Germany is Europe’s leading producer of power from coal, with seven of Europe’s ten biggest coal plants located in Germany. A swift and effective phase-out of coal-fired power can only be achieved through the implementation of a formal law. This will guarantee a timely coal exit that gives room for a shift towards cleaner, more sustainable energy while ensuring a just transition for all.

An exit from coal is therefore unavoidable if Germany and the rest of Europe are to meet national, European and international, climate protection goals.

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