Minister Schulze announces membership on fringes of New York Climate Action Summit
Today in New York on the fringes of the UN Secretary-General's Climate Action Summit, Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze announced that Germany is joining the international Powering Past Coal Alliance. Members of the Alliance to date include 80 national governments, sub-national governments and businesses. By deciding to phase out coal power and join the Alliance, Germany, as the fourth largest economy in the world, is sending a strong signal for ambitious climate action at international level.
Environment Minister Schulze: "The phase-out of coal power is a central component of global climate action. In Germany, we have worked out a compromise for society that combines the gradual phase-out of coal power with the creation of new, future-proof jobs in the regions affected. With the decisions taken by the Climate Cabinet, the German government has officially committed to the coal phase-out. And now we can finally join the Powering Past Coal Alliance. The Alliance demonstrates that coal-based power generation is becoming an outdated model in many parts of the world. When a large industrialised nation like Germany is phasing out nuclear and coal power and gradually changing its entire energy supply over to renewable energy sources, it sends a clear message to other parts of the world. This is why we are also supporting developing countries in particular in the transformation of their energy supply. I am confident that this path will ensure our energy supply is more modern in the long term and advance the development of new technologies."
The Powering Past Coal Alliance was founded in November 2017 on the margins of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn. Over 80 national governments, sub-national governments and businesses in the Alliance have made a commitment to halt the construction of new coal-fired power plants, discontinue international financing of the coal industry, set a date for the coal phase-out and align their NDCs with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Germany has paved the way for this with the decisions of the Climate Cabinet taken on 20 September. All power plants with a total output of 42.5 gigawatt are to be taken off the grid gradually by 2038 at the latest and, where possible, by 2035. Power plant capacity is to be reduced to 17 gigawatt by 2030. In January, the Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment set up by the German government also developed recommendations on how affected regions can be supported in shaping a socially just structural change.
Furthermore, in July of this year the German Reconstruction Loan Corporation (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau - KfW) decided to discontinue financing new coal projects. In its development cooperation, the Federal Environment Ministry also places a focus on supporting partner countries in the phase-out of coal power.
Emissions from coal-fired power plants in 2016 amounted to around 256 million tonnes of CO2 and accounted for 28 percent of total emissions in Germany. Germany wants to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030. At the same time, progress continues to be made on the energy transition. In the first half of 2019, renewable energy sources covered 44 percent of Germany’s electricity consumption. This share is to be increased to 65 percent by 2030.