In the next 19 years, Germany will close all of its 84 coal-fired plants to help ward of climate change. As one of the largest consumers of coal power, Germany says it will shift primarily to renewable resources. Coal currently makes up around 40% of the nation’s energy.
“This is an historic accomplishment,” said Ronald Pofalla, chairman of the commission responsible for the decision that was the result of a 21-hour negotiating session. “It was anything but a sure thing. But we did it,” Pofalla said. “There won’t be any more coal-burning plants in Germany by 2038.”
“It’s a big moment for climate policy in Germany that could make the country a leader once again in fighting climate change,” said Claudia Kemfert, professor for energy economics at the DIW Berlin, the German Institute for Economic Research. “It’s also an important signal for the world that Germany is again getting serious about climate change: a very big industrial nation that depends so much on coal is switching it off.”
Germany is already in the process of closing all of its nuclear power plants. That decision was made following the Fukushima disaster in Japan. They are expected to all be closed by 2022.
There is concern, though, for the loss of some 20,000 coal jobs, but the government hopes for a smooth transition when new energy plants are built. [LATimes]