Coal in Germany

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See also Pollution from Coal

Brown coal wins a reprieve in Germany's transition to a green future Christian Schwägerl for Yale Environment 360; Guardian; 7 Jul 2015

Even as Europe’s biggest economy aspires to be a renewable energy leader, it is exploiting its vast reserves of dirty brown coal, reports Yale Environment 360

Why Is Germany's Greenest City Building a Coal-Fired Power Plant?

German CO2 emissions rise 1% in 2015 Megan Darby; Guardian; 14 Mar 2016

Higher heat demand and use of brown coal for power behind estimated increase in climate pollution, says think tank Green Budget Germany

German court: Ancient forest can be cleared for coal mine Associated Press; Start Tribune; 24 Nov 2017

BERLIN — A court in western Germany says an ancient forest near the Belgian border can be chopped down to make way for a coal strip mine.
Cologne's administrative court ruled Friday against a legal complaint brought by the environmental group BUND that wanted to halt the clearance of much of the Hambach forest.
The group said it would appeal the decision and seek an injunction to prevent energy company RWE from clearing the trees in the meantime.
Hambach forest has become a focus of environmental protests against the expansion of a vast mine that supplies much of the coal used in nearby power plants.
The coal, a light brown variety called lignite, is considered one of the most polluting forms of fossil fuel.

In shadow of Germany’s climate conference, a village disappears to make way for coal Griff Witte, Luisa Beck; Washington Post; 11 Nov 2017

IMMERATH, Germany — The hospital is gone. So are most of the houses, with more being knocked down daily. Not even the bodies remain in the tree-shaded cemetery, where centuries-old bones were recently dug up and moved.
There is far more digging to come — enough to extinguish any trace that Immerath, a once-quaint farming village in the fertile western Germany countryside, ever existed. Because beneath the rich soil lies a substance even more valuable: coal.
The demolition of Immerath — making way for the expansion of megamines that will produce billions of tons of carbon emissions in the coming decades and leave a deep gash where villages dating to Roman times once stood — represents the dark underside of Germany’s efforts to address climate change.

Merkel Seeks to Heal Coal Rift in Germany Brian Parkin, William Wilkes; Bloomberg; 13 Jan 2019

Angela Merkel this week will seek to bridge divisions in Germany about how quickly to cut the nation’s reliance on coal, a controversial issue that has sparked violent clashes between green protesters and police and rattled its brittle governing coalition.
The Chancellor will use a Tuesday dinner meeting in Berlin to press a panel plotting an exit from the world’s most widely used power-plant fuel to speed up plans after it requested an extension in December. The group made up of coal-state governors, industry lobbyists, union members and environmentalists has a Feb. 1 deadline to spell out a comprehensive exit plan.
As Europe’s biggest economy is poised to miss its 2020 target to cut carbon emissions, the chancellor is struggling to balance climate friendly pledges against demands from industry to protect jobs and consumer groups for cheaper energy. Utilities led by RWE AG and unions covering the mining, chemicals and metals industry warn that jobs will be lost and competitiveness hurt if Germany closes coal plants too quickly.
“The climate protection targets we have set ourselves have been missed,” said Claudia Kemfert, who follows energy policy at the DIW research institute in Berlin. “The proportion of Germany’s most environmentally harmful energy source -- lignite -- is too high. Merkel should use the end of her last term to put the energy and transport transition on a successful path.”

COP23 Bonn

UK and Canada look to lead fight against coal at COP23 climate change talks CNBC

The British government said Thursday, in an announcement at the COP23 climate change talks in Bonn, Germany, that the Powering Past Coal Alliance’s ambition was to “lead the rest of the world in committing to an end to unabated coal power.” “Reducing global coal consumption should be a vital and urgent priority for all countries and states,” Claire Perry, the U.K.’s minister for climate change and industry, said in a statement. “Unabated coal is the dirtiest, most polluting way of generating electricity.” Perry said that the U.K. was committed to phasing out unabated coal-fire power generation “no later than 2025,” and hoped to inspire others to follow suit.

Global Coal Pledge Puts Merkel on the Spot – Again Darrell Delamaide, Silke Kersting; Handelsblatt Global; 16 Nov 2017

When a group of more than 20 countries at the world climate summit agreed to stop using coal altogether by 2030, it not only marked a success for the summit but embarrassed host country Germany, which could not join in because of its reliance on coal for electricity. The UN climate change conference in Bonn has more than once put Germany on the spot for failing to live up to its own ambitious climate targets. Europe’s biggest economy will miss by a wide margin its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. This disparity between Germany’s rhetoric on climate change and actual performance has emerged as potential coalition partners for a new government heatedly debate energy policy. The Powering Past Coal Alliance announced Thursday was led by Britain and Canada. Some 20 countries – including France, Italy and Mexico – signed on, as well as the US states of Washington and Oregon and five Canadian provinces.

Quick German coal exit would endanger power supply security: RWE Reuters; 14 Nov 2017

German coal-biased utility RWE on Tuesday warned of a quick exit from coal power to further reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which the Green Party is demanding in talks to form a new coalition government. Chief financial officer Markus Krebber said such a unilateral move by Germany, which had just contributed to making a pan-European CO2 trading mechanisms much stricter, would harm the economy and undermine the security of supply. “Focusing on climate protection goals alone is not enough and will lead to fatal misallocations,” he told journalists in a call on Tuesday, adding that coal-based power generation will be declining already in the coming years. “Exiting coal in the short term would make it impossible to continue ensuring security of supply.”

New EMNID Poll: 3 out of 4 Germans support a coal phaseout Webwire; 15 Nov 2017

An EMNID poll, commissioned by the global civic movement Avaaz, shows strong support for a German coal phaseout across all party preferences. More than 76% of Germans want a gradual coal phaseout in order to hit the German climate targets. Today Chancellor Merkel will speak in front of the delegates at the Bonn Climate Conference and could announce a German coal phase out. 75% of CDU voters would welcome that, as well as 70% of FDP voters.

COP23 - Day 10: Merkel disappoints hopes for clear words on coal Kerstine Appunn, Sven Egenter, Julian Wettengel; Clean Energy Wire; 15 Nov 2017

Chancellor Angela Merkel disappointed hopes for a strong statement on Germany’s climate goals and the future role of coal as she called on the world to walk the talk on climate at the global conference in Bonn. Coal, especially lignite, had to “significantly contribute to reaching the targets. But how exactly – that’s what we will have to discuss very precisely in the coming days”, said Merkel. NGOs criticised Merkel for dodging the question of how she intended to ensure that Germany will reach its climate targets.