Spotlight Activity: The Government Establishes a Coal Exit Commission
Germany made a landmark decision to form a task force in 2018 to steer the country in establishing a coal exit path. Coal is responsible for about a third of the power used in Germany and over 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. The commission was formed to oversee the mandate of the federal government to ensure equal investments in employment opportunities throughout the country among other goals, especially in regions whose economies rely on coal mining. The deadline of the commission to deliver on its mandate was supposed to be December 2018. However, the commission postponed the conclusion of its report to Feb. 1, 2019. The decision to extend the commission’s mandate was based on concerns from three eastern German states.
By close of the year, the commission was yet to reach a compromise and agree on a clear coal exit path. There were pending issues on how to finance the phase-out of coal, issues on energy and climate were yet to be discussed. This means that Germany participated in COP24 almost empty handed after failing to reach a decision on the probable coal exit path. The commission was only able to complete the first part of the report which contained proposals on the development of infrastructure and internet in affected areas.
Status: Standing Still
The formation of a Coal Exit Commission is a good initiative, but failure to reach a conclusive coal exit path by the end of the year could as well be regarded as a failed climate protection effort, as far as the Paris agreement is concerned. The postponement of finalizing the coal exit path from December to February 2019 does not mean that the pending issues will be resolved by then. It is as though nothing changed in 2018 regarding coal mining, and nothing will change until an actual coal exit plan is agreed upon.
To support the commission send the following message to the Federal Ministers of Economic Affairs and Energy, and Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, BMUB:
We congratulate the German government for forming a commission to establish a clear coal exit path in 2018. We believe that the commission would have reached a conclusion in 2018 due to the urgency in setting goals that meet the Paris agreement. However, we encourage the commission’s leaders to focus on reaching a compromise with the three German states on pending issues in the next meeting – to avoid another postponement of the coal exit decision. The commission’s mandate is key to ensuring matters raised in the 2018 IPCC report are addressed, and we hope for a speedy conclusion of its report.
Peter Altmaier – Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy
Scharnhorststraße 34-37, 10115 Berlin
Phone: +49 (0) 3018 615-0
Fax: +49 (0) 3018 615-7010
Svenja Schulze – Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, BMUB
Address: Robert-Schuman-Platz 3, 53175 Bonn
Phone: +49 (0) 22899 305-0
Email: Klimawandel.Deutsche Anpassungsstrategie@bmub.bund.de