Germans favor swift end to coal use as decision nears

Combined Shape

BERLIN (AP) — As experts held crunch talks Friday on Germany’s plans to wean itself off coal in the coming years, thousands of young people marched through the capital calling for a swift end to fossil fuel use.

Many of those protesting were students who had skipped school to rally against climate change, which they see as a big threat to their generation.

Chanting slogans such as “we are here, we are loud, because you are stealing our future,” an estimated 5,000 people walked from the economy ministry, where the talks were held, to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office.

An opinion poll released by public broadcaster ZDF found that a majority of Germans, 73 percent, agree a quick exit from coal is very important. The telephone poll of 1,285 people, conducted Jan. 22-24, had a margin of error of about three percentage points.

Those opposed to a rapid pullout include miners and other workers whose livelihoods depend on coal, some of whom staged a smaller morning protest outside the ministry demanding assurances from the government that jobs would be protected.

Here's Who Qualifies for Government to Pay for Their Internet

The government last year appointed a 28-member panel made up of scientists, politicians, environmental campaigners and business representatives to examine how the shift away from coal can be made as smooth as possible.

The panel’s meeting in Berlin follows months of haggling over the amount of funding affected regions and companies will get, and what the final deadline for coal use in Germany will be.

Greenpeace, which wants all coal plants shut down by 2030, said Germany needs to show leadership after failing to cut its carbon emissions for a decade.

“We need legally binding goals for how quickly emissions in Germany need to fall,” Martin Kaiser, head of international climate politics at Greenpeace, told The Associated Press. “Otherwise we will crash past the climate goals for 2030, as we did for 2020.”

Germany is committed to an ‘energy transition’ that involves replacing fossil fuels with renewable sources such as solar and wind power. While the country has made great strides in that direction — renewables beat coal for the first time last year — removing coal from the power equation entirely is a major challenge .

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said ensuring a reliably supply of electricity and affordable energy prices were a priority for Europe’s biggest economy.

“The energy transition will succeed if we get a big consensus from all actors in society,” Altmaier told reporters.

If Friday’s meeting fails to reach consensus, a further meeting is scheduled for Feb. 1. Chancellor Angela Merkel has already scheduled a meeting with governors from coal mining states next Thursday.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Combined Shape
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City