Bundestag decides to phase out coal by 2038 at the latest - page 1

From 2038, coal will no longer be burned in Germany to generate electricity. The majority of the Bundestag passed the corresponding laws. It was noteworthy that the vote on the law on the gradual end of climate-damaging coal-based electricity generation required a so-called mutton leap. The deputies have to enter the boardroom through yes / no doors because the open voting in the hall did not show a clear result.

It was decided that the share of coal-based electricity generation from hard coal and lignite power plants would decrease to 15 gigawatts each by 2022, then to eight gigawatts for hard coal power plants and nine gigawatt output for lignite power plants by 2030. The phase-out should be completed in 2038.

A second law passed provides the former coal-mining regions with money to cope with the change in the economic structure and to compensate for the loss of jobs. North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony and Brandenburg are to receive a total of 40 billion euros to manage their economy and the restructuring of the infrastructure. Power plant operators also receive money from this budget because they shut down their plants prematurely and thus avoid complaints before an international arbitration tribunal.

The laws are based on proposals from a commission that had proposed to the federal government to phase out coal by 2038 at the latest one and a half years ago. Coal-fired power plants are gradually being taken off the grid anyway, but the German and EU-level climate protection goals make a faster exit necessary. The corporations would only have got out in the late 1940s.

In addition to traffic, the energy sector causes the most climate-damaging air pollutants. Experts and MPs from the opposition criticize the fact that an end date for the coal phase-out has now been set, but that coal can be burned much longer than is necessary for the energy industry and is acceptable in terms of climate policy. Studies show that Germany could close coal-fired power plants earlier without jeopardizing security of supply. Added to this is the fact that the contractual provisions with the energy companies that result from the laws are such that the next federal governments cannot subsequently accelerate the exit without the companies having to renegotiate. It is therefore less likely that the Garzweiler II lignite mine in North Rhine-Westphalia will close prematurely. At least it has been agreed that the nearby Hambacher Forest will not be used for open-cast mining, contrary to the previous permit. 

While coalition politicians such as Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) defended the exit in the Bundestag debate as "economic and climate policy in the interest of our country", MP Lorenz Gösta Beutin, for example, complained from the opposition left-wing fration that the Federal Government was making policies for the corporations and committing "treason." the man in the country ". The exit must be brought forward to 2030. Tino Chrupalla from the AfD, on the other hand, criticized the exit as hasty; it would make sense in 2050 - as is also the aim of the energy companies. He said wind power and other sources could not replace the loss of coal power. He called for a special economic zone to be set up in the Lusatian coal region - which the Saxon CDU is now also endorsing. The FDP also did not vote for the exit laws. "The list of things that the two laws have addressed as inadequate is endless," said MP Martin Neumann. The Greens agreed to the structural strengthening, but rejected the coal phase-out law as inadequate, as MP Annalena Baerbock said. 

Environmental associations also complain that a faster coal phase-out is necessary for climate protection reasons. Greenpeace activists climbed the roof of the Reichstag building in protest and explained their position in a speech. Under the lettering to the German people they put up a large banner with the inscription "A future without coal power". Greenpeace will continue to fight together with the entire climate movement for this and the next government for the end of coal burning by 2030 at the latest, said Greenpeace managing director Martin Kaiser. With this "harmful law", the "coal chancellor" Angela Merkel gambled away her credibility right at the beginning of the German EU Council Presidency, which she also dedicated to climate protection. IG BCE boss Michael Vassiliadis said that Germany must "finally formulate an entry plan: for the expansion of renewables and the grids, for the overdue offensive for energy sources in the coming decades: hydrogen". Vassiliadis and Kaiser were members of the coal commission.