Dispute in the coal commission: yelled at by business representatives

The environmental associations represented on the Coal Commission want to shut down several power plants by 2022. This is causing protest.

Stop coal, demand the environmental associations represented in the coal commission Photo: dpa

A proposal by the environmental associations represented on the Coal Commission has caused controversy among members of the panel. Participant circles said there had been a heated controversy at a meeting of a subgroup on Friday. Kai Niebert, who sits on the commission for the environmental umbrella organization DNR, reported at an event that he had been "yelled at" by business representatives. Niebert and the BDI declined to make an official statement, citing the confidentiality of the negotiations.

The reason for the uproar is what is actually an internal draft by the environmental associations for a chapter in the final document dealing with the German climate target for 2020. Greenpeace, BUND and DNR have now also given up hope that CO2 emissions will fall by 40 percent by then compared to 1990, as was once agreed.

Instead, the goal is now to be achieved by 2022: By then, coal-fired power plants with a total capacity of 16 gigawatts are to be taken off the grid. These include 7.5 gigawatts of lignite, mainly from the Rhineland, which are to be transferred initially to a "safety standby" from 2020. The operators are to receive compensation for this.

In addition, 8.6 gigawatts of hard coal-fired power plants are to be shut down in 2022, mostly without compensation. Criticism also came from the DGB. Its commission representative Stefan Korzell told the taz that the proposal would mean "pulling the plug in the short term, especially in the Rhenish coalfields."

The commission is to make a proposal for achieving the 2020 target before the UN climate conference in December. It will be negotiated next Friday. Concrete figures are expected at the end of the month.

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