Australian news, and some related international items

Germany is shutting down its coal industry for good, so far without sacking a single worker

Germany is shutting down its coal industry for good, so far without sacking a single worker, ABC News Foreign Correspondent By Eric Campbell in Germany 17 Feb, 20, “……..  Germany shut down its last black coal mine in 2018.

Miners were offered a new job or an early retirement and a centuries-old way of life came to a sudden end.

But Germany is not looking back. A nation that built its fortunes on coal has decided the fossil fuel’s days are numbered.

As Australia looks to expand coal exp

orts and build new mines, like Adani’s proposed Carmichael project, Europe’s biggest economy is phasing out its entire coal industry for good.

Having already extinguished black coal, Germany is now doing the same to brown coal — a cheaper, dirtier fossil fuel that spews even more carbon emissions.

Berlin has announced a timetable to close not only every remaining brown coal mine but all the carbon-emitting power plants that burn coal to make electricity, by 2038.

In a grand compromise that many Australians might find hard to fathom, trade unions, energy companies, green groups and government have all agreed that the coal industry must go.

And the Government will give tens of billions of dollars to coal regions to create new jobs and industries………

in 2007, the government, coal companies and trade unions struck a historic deal to wind down black coal for good.

“[The government] asked us how much time you need to do that without any problems, not to bring the people off the working market,” Mr Beike said.

Mr Beike said they were given plenty of time — and money — to make the transition.

RAG maintains only a skeleton staff to administer workers’ pensions and contract mine restorations. Mr Beike says only 100 workers are still in need of a job.

One former miner tells Foreign Correspondent he found work as a research scientist; another has been retrained for a job as a trade union secretary.

Government subsidies were used to transform an old RAG coking plant into a World Heritage site, preserved as a piece of history for international tourists. It now has solar panels on the roof.

Black coal may have been shut down for economic reasons but a new move to phase out brown coal is purely environmental.

Renewables currently account for 40 per cent of Germany’s energy generation but there are plans to increase that to 65 per cent by the end of the decade. To meet its Paris targets, the country must do more.

Unlike Australia, where the Federal Government’s response to climate change is being debated after a season of catastrophic fires, there is broad agreement in Germany that coal’s demise is inevitable.

The successful closure of the black coal industry is now providing a blueprint for how to finish the job.

Under what’s known as the Coal Compromise, struck in January 2019, the rest of Germany’s coal industry will soon start retiring their mines and power plants.

Corporations have been given nearly two decades to completely shut down and the Government has promised 40 billion euros ($65 billion) to coal regions to ease the transition……..

February 18, 2020 - Posted by | General News

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