Germany has set itself clear climate targets on the path to climate neutrality. Power generation accounts for a significant share – currently around 32% – of Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Federal Climate Change Act stipulates that these emissions must be reduced by at least 77% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels. Lignite and coal-fired power plants account for the major share of the energy sector’s emissions, yet they produced just one third of Germany’s electricity in 2022. Shutting down these power plants therefore holds the key to protecting the climate. The Coal Commission recommended that Germany should complete its exit from coal no later than 2038; however, the German government is aiming for an accelerated phase-out by 2030, as stated in the coalition agreement.
Which specific measures are required to enable the energy industry to reach its more ambitious climate targets by 2030? This issue is a key focus of the work being undertaken at the Oeko-Institut. Various analyses show how the coal phase-out can be accelerated. The researchers bring together facts and figures about power plants and open-cast mines, legislation and phase-out pathways, employment statistics and economic structures, particularly in the lignite mining regions, and environmental aspects of the lignite industry. They thus establish a sound basis for the further structuring of the coal phase-out.