January 26, 2019

German proposal to phase-out out coal incompatible with 1.5°C warming threshold

Climate vulnerable communities and campaign groups demand a more ambitious plan to quit coal

Berlin, Germany, 26 January 2019. Today the German coal commission has delivered a proposal to the Federal Government that lays out steps to phase-out coal by 2038 and deliver €40 billion in compensation to coal-plant operators and the wider industry.

Laura Weis, Senior Germany campaigner for 350.org said:

“This proposal is not good enough. Scientists have warned governments that to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis global warming must not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This proposal falls short of that requirement, it fails to safeguard our future and protect the millions of people worldwide already affected by the consequences of climate change, many of whom are forced to fight for their very survival on a daily basis. The voices of these communities were not heard by the coal commission, their fate is being ignored and, unlike coal-plant operators, they will receive no compensation when the impacts hit home.

We expect the Federal Government to deliver a more ambitious coal phase-out that is compatible with the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold and national climate commitments. A good first step would be to announce the immediate closure of at least half of the national coal capacity. We are concerned that Chancellor Merkel, following her statement in Davos on Wednesday, is seeking to switch one fossil fuel with another by increasing the use of fossil gas instead of rolling out decentralised renewable energy for all.

Since last year, tens of thousands of people have been regularly taking to the streets of Germany calling for a quick exit from coal and fossil fuels in general, tens of thousands of young people are now engaging in school strikes for the same cause under the motto ‘Fridays for Future’. This proposal will not appease them. Groups like Ende Gelände and Extinction Rebellion are already planning a week of actions in February to protest the commission’s proposal and demand more.”

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