BERLIN (Reuters) - Coal-fired power production in Germany should come to an end “well before 2050”, according to a draft environment ministry document seen by Reuters on Tuesday on how Europe’s biggest economy can achieve its climate goals.
Calls have grown for Berlin to set out a timetable to withdraw from coal in power production, after global leaders clinched a climate-protection deal in Paris last December to transform the world’s fossil-fuel driven economy.
The government is due to decide on a national climate action plan for 2050 by mid-2016 which will lay out how it plans to move away from fossil fuels and achieve its goal of cutting CO2 emissions by up to 95 percent compared to 1990 levels by the middle of the century.
The draft document, which still needs to be rubber-stamped by other ministries and has not yet been approved by Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, says CO2 emissions from the energy sector will need to be halved by 2030 compared to 2014 levels.
The paper proposes setting up a committee to come up with recommendations on how to phase out coal while averting economic hardship for those working in coal-producing regions.
The coal sector still accounts for around 40 percent of electricity generated in Germany and is viewed as an important pillar for a stable power supply as the country exits nuclear power and moves towards renewable sources of energy.
The document calls for a faster expansion of renewables than currently envisaged and says support for solar power needs to be increased.
Germany generated more than a quarter of its electricity from renewable sources - such as wind and solar power - in 2014. The document said the amount of energy produced by green sources should increase by around 75 percent by 2030.
Support for research into energy-storage technologies should be doubled over the next 10 years, the paper says.
The government will also push for a stricter European emissions trading system and is considering whether an additional levy on petrol, heating oil and gas would increase demand for green technologies.
writing by Caroline Copley; editing by Madeline Chambers and Robin Pomeroy