26 September 2021

Climate ambition and early coal phase out loom large in German election

BERLIN, 26 SEPTEMBER 2021 – As the tallying of votes concludes in a pivotal election for Germany, early results show climate change and an early coal phase out have played an important role for German voters. 

“Compromising for coal and dragging its feet on climate change has clearly undermined the previous government in the eyes of a public that wants climate action and the protection of villages, like the iconic Lützerath, which is currently facing destruction for coal mining that cannot happen under any responsible climate plan,” said Fabian Hübner, Europe Beyond Coal Germany campaigner. “The next government will be decided by its climate ambition, and that will ultimately mean moving Germany’s coal phase to 2030 at the latest.”

An estimated 100,000 people joined the Fridays For Future climate march in Berlin ahead of the elections this weekend. The Greens have made an accelerated coal phase out a condition for government participation. 

“Germany’s slow 2038 phase out has been a negative example to the world since the day it was decided, and it has already been overtaken by reality,” said Pieter de Pous at E3G. “Even early results have made it very likely that a new German government will have no choice but to adopt more ambitious climate measures and finally hit the coal exit accelerator. A coal phase out this decade is unavoidable, and with the first climate UN meeting in two years looming, the next German government has an incredible chance to signal it is ready to step up on the greatest existential challenge of our time.”


ENDS


Contacts:

Alastair Clewer, Communications Officer, Europe Beyond Coal

[email protected], +49 176 433 07 185

Fabian Hübner, Coal Campaigner, Europe Beyond Coal

[email protected],+49 178 633 7720


Notes:

  1. Why Europe must phase out coal by 2030 to respect the UN Paris climate  agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C: https://climateanalytics.org/briefings/coal-phase-out/
  2. Germany’s Moorburg and Westfalen coal plants were two of the country’s most modern coal plants and were expected to operate until at least the mid 2030s but were closed this year as part of the country’s first hard coal auction. https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/first-phase-out-auction-german-hard-coal-deemed-success-modern-plants-go-offline
  3. According to two polls of German voters, climate is the most important political problem to solve: https://www.infratest-dimap.de/umfragen-analysen/bundesweit/ard-deutschlandtrend/2021/september/
    https://www.forschungsgruppe.de/Umfragen/Politbarometer/Langzeitentwicklung_-_Themen_im_Ueberblick/Politik_II/#Probl1
  4. Greta Thunberg this weekend visited the village of Lützerath in North Rhine Westphalia to offer her support to the protest coalition Alle Dörfer bleiben (All Villages remain!) which is resisting RWE’s plan to demolish the village during the post-election coalition negotiation period to make way for its expanding Garzweiler open pit mine. https://www.archyde.com/greta-thunberg-speaks-on-the-eve-of-the-german-elections/
  5. Protestors demand climate action ahead of German election: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/24/world/europe/german-election-climate-action.html
  6. Boris Johnson calls for an end to coal power in developed countries by 2030
    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-58657887
  7. UN Secretary-General António Guterres calls for EU and OECD countries to exit coal by 2030: https://www.politico.eu/article/no-new-coal-un-chief-tells-eu/

About: 

Europe Beyond Coal is an alliance of civil society groups working to catalyse the closures of coal mines and power plants, prevent the building of any new coal projects and hasten the just transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our groups are devoting their time, energy and resources to this independent campaign to make Europe coal free by 2030 or sooner. www.beyond-coal.eu 

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