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Germany is about to break its coal addiction.Though renewables have penetrated 40 percent of the electricity market, coal still accounts for 38 percent.A decision to phase out nuclear power, spurred by the 2011 Fukushima disaster, left Germany with a significant energy gap, filled partly by coal. The coal commission's plan which still needs to be turned into legislation by Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Bundestag would reduce Germany's coal emissions from 42 gigawatts today to 30 GW by 2022, and to 17 GW by 2030 . This is a cut of more than 50 percent over one decade, making it even more ambitious than the carbon law trajectory but only if coal is not replaced by natural gas. Indeed, if the coal phase-out is going to work, it will need to happen alongside a rising carbon price.A sluggish exit from coal by Germany the world's fourth-largest economy could send a signal to other coal-dependent European Union countries that there is no rush.If Germany implements what it has agreed on paper, one should not underestimate the symbolic value of a coal-dependent industrialized economy setting a clear end date for coal, and locking itself to a quantified phase-out plan.
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