Germany Says It's Kicking the Coal Habit

This lignite-fired power plant near Bergheim, Germany, could be closed before 2040. Lignite is a cheap and dirty type of coal. Federico Gambarini/AFP/Getty Images

Germany has plans to leave coal in the cold by 2038, provided the country's ruling coalition takes up the recommendations of a government-appointed commission.

The recommendations, hammered out following a 21-hour marathon negotiation session held Jan. 25 and Jan. 26 among government officials, industrialists, union representatives, scientists and environmentalists, would result in one of the world's largest consumers of coal shutting down 84 coal-fired plants and putting even more emphasis on renewable energy. The recommendations are intended to help Germany meets its commitments to fighting climate change under the Paris agreement.

“这是一项历史性的成就,”28人政府委员会董事长罗纳德波帕拉在谈判结束后在柏林的一部新闻发布会上表示。“这是一个肯定的东西。但我们这样做了,”Pofalla说。“2038年,德国不会有任何更多的燃煤植物。”

Overcoming energy struggles

德国长期以来一直认为是一个致力于打击气候变化的国家,根据洛杉矶时报,但它最终丢失的基准来减少它CO2 emissions under the Paris agreements. For instance, the next important benchmark in 2020 called for a 40 percent reduction in CO2 emissions compared to 1990. Germany is likely to only be at a 32 percent reduction by next year.

However, shutting down its coal plants means that Germany may likely meet its targets for 2030 and 2050, reductions of 55 and 80 percent, respectively.

A view of the Boxberg lignite coal-fire power station near German town Weisswasser
在德国镇Weisswasser附近的Boxberg褐煤燃煤发电站的视图。德国曾在减少其二氧化碳排放时曾经做好,但该国已开始落后于其目标。 Barbara Laborde / AFP / Getty Images

Currently, German produces 40 percent of its electricity using coal. With the country's decision to shutter its nuclear plants following Japan's 2011 Fukushima disaster, the recommendations would mean that renewables, like solar and wind, would need to account for 65 to 80 percent of the country's energy by 2040.

Twelve of the country's 19 nuclear plans have closed so far.

“全世界都在观看德国的如何基于行业和工程,我们星球第四大经济体 - 正在逐步淘汰煤炭的历史性决策,”约翰·罗克斯姆,波茨坦的气候影响研究所主任,告诉纽约时报.

“这可以帮助结束指向的年龄,太多政府的年龄说:为什么我们应该行动,如果别人没有?”RockStröm继续。“德国正在行事,即使委员会的决定并非完美无缺。”

什么是计划?

A road near the village of Peitz shows clouds of water vapor rising from the cooling towers of the Jaenschwalde lignite coal-fired power station in the Lusatian region in East Germany.
从Jaenschwalde Lignite燃煤发电站的冷却塔上升的水蒸气云层在东德国卢萨斯岛地区。推荐的煤炭淘汰计划要求投资占煤所在地区。 Barbara Laborde / AFP / Getty Images

Appointed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, the commission has spent the past seven months attempting to craft a road map away from coal that would satisfy the various competing interests. The plan, which is expected to be adopted by Merkel's government and the country's regional states, includes several aggressive steps. By 2022, a quarter of the 84 coal-powered plants in the country should be closed, amounting to about 12.5 gigawatts worth of energy. The plan didn't specify which plants should be closed, leaving that decision up to the utility companies.

每三年将发生一次审查过程,以了解计划如何进展以及最终日期是否应予以移动。委员会表示,拟议的2038年末日期可能会升至2035年,具体取决于2032年审查的调查结果。

根据相关的压力,Merkel已经表示,德国可能会进口更多的天然气,而不是目前可以帮助抵消煤炭的损失,而可再生能源起步并运行。天然气比煤炭少二氧化碳。

从路线图中失踪的是一种从该国的能源计划中删除煤炭的程度,但小组确实建议在未来40年内投入400亿欧元(456亿美元)的煤炭依赖地区。这笔钱旨在帮助改变直接连接到煤炭的20,000个工作岗位,并与新的就业机会间接相关的40,000个工作岗位。预计另外5,000个政府就业岗位将在全国各地北莱茵 - 威斯特法伦州的北莱茵 - 威斯特法伦州最严重的地区搬迁或创造,并在东部的勃兰登堡,萨克森州 - 安哈尔特和萨克森州。

Welzow-Sued煤矿in Germany
New jobs will need to be created to replace those lost as Germany eliminates coal from its power grid. Patrick Pleul/AFP/Getty Images

小组还建议留出至少20亿欧元的欧元,以限制德国电力票据的增加,这些票据是欧洲最高的。2022审查将确定确切的金额。拟定计划的批评者告诉路透社认为,它可能会提高电价,而且,鉴于该国减少二氧化碳的驱动器,煤炭将在自然的时间内逐步淘汰。

“绝对没有必要思考煤炭的退出与固定的结束日期。现在,亲营自由民主人士的领导者,”克里斯蒂安Lindner即将到来的,“told Reuters.

区域投资和控制德国电费的企图旨在防止普遍抗议法国黄背背心抗议活动, which began in part due to a new green fuel tax enacted by French President Emmanuel Macron. Additionally, Brandenburg and Saxony both have regional elections this year, and the far-right party Alternatives for Germany has been polling well in the regions, in part due to its platform of keeping mines open for as long as there is coal. The investments could be a way to minimize the party's impact during the elections.

Students walk with banners and placards during the 'Fridays for Future' protest
Students walk with banners and placards during the 'Fridays for Future' protest against coal and for climate protection, on Jan. 25, 2019 in Berlin, while the commission negotiated. Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

尽管如此,整体德国人口似乎热衷于从电源中取出煤炭。通过公共广播公司ZDF调查的百分之七十三名德国人支持煤炭力量快速减少。

“这个计划将使德国政府设定的气候变化目标可以实现,但它也是重要的,如果德国政府实施我们的建议,那么这是重要的,实现实惠和安全的能源供应,”芭芭拉·普拉雷鲁里斯,一个环境教授曾担任委员会四个领导人之一,告诉纽约时报。