A government-appointed commission in Germany announced they’re going coal-free by 2038. The entire country (and the world) is moving towards other sources of energy, and it’s an amazing thing to see when a country like Germany puts their foot down and decides to reduce their environmental impact on the world.
Setting an example for other European countries that are considering a similar phasing-out, Germany is giving themselves nearly 20 years to adapt to a feasible alternative solution.
“We made it,” Ronald Pofalla, the head of the commission, told reporters in Berlin. “This is a historic effort.” The members of the committee devised a solution to closing Germany’s 84 power plants and switching the entire country over to renewable energy sources.
Mashable.com says, “Fossil fuels still account for about 40 percent of Germany’s power, according to The Guardian, despite recent gains in renewable energy sources. The country also plans to move away from nuclear energy by 2022. Once it gets there, renewable energy will be the main source of power.”
The plan is going to cost $45 billion over time to put into place, but there are stipulations to aid the hurting coal regions in the country. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is expected to make these measures official shortly.
“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.”
It wasn’t too much of a shock when Germany announced they’re going coal-free by 2038, considering the area already has a vow to end all nuclear power by 2022. After the Fukushima disaster, other countries followed Germany’s lead in finding more sustainable resources.
“Powerful utilities and labor unions helped keep coal-burning plants operating and previous governments even planned to expand the number of coal plants to compensate for the pending withdrawal from nuclear power. There are still about 20,000 jobs directly dependent on the coal industry and 40,000 indirectly tied to it,” according to the LA Times.
Despite Germany’s exit from the coal industry, coal and nuclear power continue to be the most-used power sources around the world. The United States is third on the list of coal-dependent countries, following China and India. President Obama supported the transition to clean energy, even signing the Paris Climate Accord that 200 other nations agreed to adopt, but Trump backed out of the contract shortly after taking office. The Trump administration has come under fire for changing the government’s website to empower coal and fracking companies.
“The whole world is watching how Germany — a nation based on industry and engineering, the fourth largest economy on our planet — is taking the historic decision of phasing out coal,” said Johan Rockstroem, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research. “This could cascade globally, locking in the fastest energy transition in history.”