The Future of Coal – The Economics and Politics of the German Coal Phase Out
In January 2019, a stakeholder commission established by the German government agreed upon a schedule to decommission coal-fired power plants by 2038 at the latest and a framework for financial assistance to regions affected by the transition. Environmental groups have argued for years that Germany will not get back on track to its climate targets if it does not tackle the coal question. However, as a historic ingredient of Germany's industrial might, coal as source of energy was considered taboo for policy-makers until recently. How did this major paradigm shift come about – and what made an agreement among different stakeholders possible?
In this EFEX webinar, Benjamin Görlach, Senior Fellow at Ecologic Institute, presented the findings of the coal phase-out commission and the process leading up to it, and discussed what the commission's proposal means for German climate and energy policy. The webinar outlined the implications of coal phase out for the future of the German and European energy sectors. The presentation and following discussion was moderated by Matthias Duwe, Head Climate, at Ecologic Institute.
Benjamin Görlach is an environmental economist and Senior Fellow with Ecologic Institute. He works mostly on economic instruments in environmental policy, and particularly on carbon pricing. From August 2018 to February 2019, he worked as personal aide to Professor Barbara Praetorius, one of the four presidents of the German commission to phase out coal.