A year after Germany’s 28-member “Coal Commission” presented a fragile compromise brown coal phase-out, in mid-January Merkel’s Grand Coalition government formally released their own plan. Breaking with the Commission’s recommendations by slowing down the pace of the phase-out, immediately greenlighting the new Datteln 4 hard coal plant and showering RWE and other coal operators with billions of Euros, it also calls for more gas plants and additional wind turbine construction limitations. Neither ensuring Germany can adhere to the Paris Agreement nor its own clean energy targets, environmental groups are outraged as investors celebrate. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes us into the dirty deal.
While ostensibly trying to craft policy that both transforms Germany’s energy sector to 65% renewables by 2035 and protects the security of Germany’s 20,000 coal workers, the Grand Coalition Government’s halting energy policies have just cost the jobs of over 30,000 workers through the wind sector. Facing the worst domestic slowdown in 20 years, manufacturers spent much of 2019 hemorrhaging jobs, going bankrupt or heading into reconstruction. As 2020 begins, L. Michael Buchsbaum brings us up to date.
Despite all their rhetoric, Angela Merkel’s Grand Coalition government is clearly not all that interested in really powering past coal. The latest evidence is its decision to allow the Uniper-owned 1,200 MW hard coal-fired power plant, Datteln 4, to come online in 2020 — against the recommendations of the Coal Commission. As the government embarks on a bizarre sales campaign peddling the idea that Datteln’s advanced technology will somehow help improve the climate, activists are organizing a protest wave that will dwarf previous actions around the embattled Hambach Forest. Michael Buchsbaum reviews the situation.
After months of deliberations, in late September Germany’s ruling coalition, made up of the center-right CDU/CSU and the Centrist SPD unveiled their new climate action strategy—to near universal disappointment. Now approved by the government, the plan’s architects hope a weak plan is better than none at all. L. Michael Buchsbaum summarizes
Despite increasing public pressure, both coalition parties within Merkel’s so-called Climate Cabinet favor taxes or market based trading schemes to tackle the climate crisis instead of new regulations to increase renewable energy or hard measures to phase out fossil fuels. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes a look
Politicians and energy sector professionals have scratched their heads for years about how to get citizens – whom they generally refer to as “consumers” – to change their habits in order to protect the climate. Now, a young generation is telling decision-makers that we can’t wait. Was ethics the answer the whole time? Craig Morris takes a look.
With the ink barely dry on Germany’s Coal Commission report recommending a phase out by 2038, the oil and gas industry is breaking out the champagne. While environmentalists criticize the plan’s particulars, the other side is celebrating the slaying of their strongest competitor. And they’re translating that joy into furious lobbying aimed at ensuring that renewables don’t fill the majority of the void as coal plants are shuttered. L. Michael Buchsbaum explains.
Legally all former coal fields have to be cleaned up or reclaimed following the end of mining activities. While most former surface sites in Germany are flooded, more sold coal sites are being redeveloped as renewable energy sources. L. Michael Buchsbaum talks to developers to see how it works.