Energy experts of Germany’s grand coalition of conservatives (CDU/CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD) have rebuffed the Green Party’s plans for an accelerated coal exit.
“We cannot phase out both nuclear and coal-fired power production within 15 or 20 years,” conservative Thomas Bareiß said at a party debate hosted by utilities RWE and innogy. Bareiß argued that exiting coal “with a sledgehammer-approach” would “massively damage” Germany’s industrial capacity and undermine the “basis of our prosperity”.
The SPD’s Bernd Westphal said his party would put “no signature” under a hypothetical coalition treaty with the Greens that included an accelerated coal exit. Westphal said the energy transition affected “a very diverse array of interests” and limiting debate to climate protection was “wrong”.
The Green Party’s Julia Verlinden said accelerating Germany’s coal exit was “a red line” for her party as “there is simply no other way to meet our climate goals”. She rejected the other parties’ insistence on a market-based approach for exiting coal as “there is no market because carbon emission costs are not internalised”. Verlinden added that a coal exit was inevitable and taking action now would “increase our flexibility and allow for better adaptation” by affected industries. In their draft election programme, the Greens envisage a coal exit by 2030.