Germany is taking significant strides to meet its pledge to reduce carbon emissions. The government announced plans on 2 July 2015 to shut down several coal-fired plants throughout the country in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in keeping with its 2020 climate goals. The plan will affect coal-powered plants with a capacity of 2.7 gigawatts, but it is unclear how many will be shut down or where.
Germany has become an environmental model in the world, with its pledge to cut carbon emissions 40 percent by the year 2020. The ambitious goal will not come easily, so the country is taking major steps to substitute dirty fossil fueled industries to cleaner renewable energies. Germany’s energy minister Sigmar Gabriel has furthered the country’s green goals while lobbying for the cutback of coal-burning plants.
Gabriel’s plans have not come without opposition, as industry officials and unions push back. The energy minister’s original proposal was to cut carbon emissions by the country’s oldest and biggest polluting power stations, but industry leaders say that move would put 100,000 jobs at risk. Utility companies are also pushing back, claiming lost income could ruin them, and demanding severance payments if the plan goes through.
The plants may be allowed to sell the power to a reserve scheme, but details have not yet been revealed.