Germany could see eight coal-fired power stations shut down in the coming years, as it works on new legislation to help the country meet its ambitious 2020 climate target.
Europe’s biggest economy aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by the end of the decade, but recent analysis warns it is at risk of missing the target by between 5-8%.
According to media reports, the draft legislation aims to help close this gap by asking energy companies to reduce carbon emissions by at least 22 million tonnes by 2020.
Last week, analysis from economists at the German Institute for Economic Research showed that shutting down old coal-burning facilities would be the only way for Germany to reach its target.
Claims that the new law could mean the closure of eight coal-fired power stations have been denied by German energy minister Sigmar Gabriel who is facing pressure from polluting industries, but the German government has re-confirmed its ambitious 2020 targets on various occasions and knows that reducing coal is the only way to get there.
Coal has no place in our future energy mix.
The rapid development of renewables means clean technologies can power our society, drive the economy and give us cleaner air.
By moving away from dirty coal, countries will not only be securing a safe climate future, but will be embracing a wide range of benefits, including jobs and improved public health.
In Europe alone, phasing out coal power could prevent 18,200 premature deaths and serious illnesses which cost the EU up to €43 billion each year.
The leaked German legislation is just another piece of evidence that the era of fossil fuels is over and that a clean energy transition towards 100% renewables is underway, a view now also shared by the US government that has acknowledged that fossil fuels have to stay in the ground.
Those failing to denounce coal are finding themselves increasingly isolated.
Even big European utilities are looking to a cleaner future, leaving those still hooked on fossil fuels using increasingly desperate measures to sell their false energy solutions.