Germany commits to investing $45 billion to close all of its coal plants by 2038

Germany commits to investing $45 billion to close all of its coal plants by 2038
Coal miners/Shutterstock
Coal miners/Shutterstock

It will take $45 billion in investment but Germany has come up with a plan to shutdown the country’s 84 coal-fired power plants by 2038. The Los Angeles Times reports that in order to meet its international commitments, a government commission made up of government officials, experts, scientists and industry leaders, agreed on a plan to make Germany a greener place.

“It’s a big moment for climate policy in Germany that could make the country a leader once again in fighting climate change,” said Claudia Kemfert, professor for energy economics at the DIW Berlin, the German Institute for Economic Research. “It’s also an important signal for the world that Germany is again getting serious about climate change: a very big industrial nation that depends so much on coal is switching it off.”

Germany is one of the world’s greatest coal consumers, accounting for 40 percent of the country’s electricity production. A big part of Germany’s coal problem comes not only from their dependence, but the fact that they burn the “dirtiest form of coal,” lignite. Of course, while some news outlets have called the $45 billion a “cost,” or “spending,” the fact of the matter is that according to studies, Germany spends billions on public health costs related to coal every year. Investing in a healthier populace and cleaner energy isn’t an expenditure.

This is a big moment for the Earth as Germany is not only one of the worst global CO2 polluters, but they have been an example for some cynics as to why it will be too hard to ween ourselves off of coal in a expedited way. One of the obstacles Germany faced was the closing down and phasing out of their nuclear plant producing plants—the result of green protests and the disaster in Kukushima, Japan back in 2011. Many argued that without the cleaner nuclear option, to “bridge” between coal and greener energy technologies, the costs would be too steep. It would be nice if they could.


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