Twenty countries have already announced plans to phase out coal by 2030. Several European countries – including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the UK – were part of the initiative launched at the Bonn Climate Change Conference in November 2017. However, many others have yet to commit (including two of Europe’s biggest coal consumers: Germany and Poland).

French President Macron had already pledged during his election campaign to shutter his country’s coal power plants by 2022 (though France only draws 3-4% of its energy from coal, so it’s a relatively low-cost promise to keep). In 2017, Britain achieved its first coal-free day since the industrial revolution, with gas, nuclear, wind, and solar providing enough power to keep the UK’s coal-fired plants offline for 24 hours. Should all EU countries attempt to follow their lead?

What do our readers think? We had a comment from Jacob, who believes we must phase out coal completely by 2030 if we are serious about tackling climate change. Is he right?

To get a response, we talked to Professor Claudia Kemfert, head of the Energy, Transportation, and Environment department at the German Institute for Economic Research and Professor of Energy Economics and Sustainability at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. What would she say?

A coal phase-out is indispensable if we want to reach the climate goals set in Paris… This could be done in stages, to prevent disruption. In the first phase, the oldest, most inefficient coal-fired power plants would immediately be taken off the grid. Second, the maximum capacity of coal power plants would be reduced, replaced by renewables. Then we can complete the phase-out by 2030, as long as there is the political will and the correct structural changes are properly implemented.

We also had a comment from Hagen, who wonders if it’s not already too late for a coal phase-out. How can we stop something that began in the middle of the 19th Century?

Climate scientists tell us we must start reducing emissions as soon as possible to reach the global temperature target of 1.5 to 2.0 degrees of warming by 2100. Yet it is only if we actually reduce emissions by 80-95 percent by the middle of the century that this will be possible. It can be done if we expand renewable energies and do everything possible to save energy and create new renewable technologies – such as wind, solar, biomass, and other forms – across all sectors including transport and the construction sector… If we do that then we can meet our climate protection goals.

Should Europe completely phase out coal by 2030? Or is that an unrealistic target? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: (c) / BigStockPhoto – agnormark

34 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Ivan Burrows

    How is Eastern Europe going to provide its power without it ? Even Germany has reneged on its idiotic promise to get rid of coal.

    • avatar
      Ivan Burrows

      Then what do you use in the power plants that make your lights & pc work ?

    • avatar
      Thierry Longer

      If i knew what to do for sure in details then you would know already. As far as appliances are concerned solar based energy could still be the right resource in 2030. I reckon lots of research work have to be taken care of in the 12 years ahead.

    • avatar
      Ivan Burrows

      Kirstie Mamoyo Rogers Really ? what do they put in their tractors to provide the food you need ? or do they have little windmills on the top of them.

  2. avatar
    Giuseppe Asinari

    If you allow me a comment, Mussolini inaugurated Carbonia in Sardinia on December the 18, 1938 when Coal ( Carbone in Italian ) was already obsolete; this was a large coal mine. Today we have Donald Trump revamping this energy in US to please some undeveloped areas of US. Knowing the negative impact on the environment by using this energy I wonder how we can have some of the stupid comments I read above. Change the pusher, my friends. Ciao

    • avatar
      Luca Berti

      Tu cambia bar 😁

    • avatar
      Giuseppe Asinari

      Parlavo giusto oggi con i miei colleghi a Rotterdam di quanto le autorità cinesi fermano industrie locali per l’inquinamento, da carbone in primis; non sò scemi manco loro ( che copiano ). Il bar lo devo cambiare perché dopo dù biciér de vin, I mè várda mal! Ciao

    • avatar
      Luca Berti

      Prova con la birra

  3. avatar

    Without provision for a different zero downtime resilient power source, such as niluclear – most definitely no.

  4. avatar
    Hector J Cantero

    Get rid of coal and build new improved nuclear centrals. Otherwise we will keep producing huge amounts of CO2.

    • avatar
      Roderiko Kampen

      No, we don’t need energy that is as polluting and as expensive as possible.

  5. avatar
    Darragh Ó hAoileáin

    So we all are dependant on oil. Yep sounds about right. They are taking peolpes right to harvest peat in ireland. This is because they cant tax it. Some people have harvested peat for generations on the family plot. For some the cant afford any other means of heating. Bully eurocrats will do anything to burden and enslave the people with debt and taxes while their bank and oil buddies get ever fatter of the misery they created.

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