Post by Andrew Karts
Merkel had to acknowledge the elephant in the room, or more
specifically, the elephant down the road.
"We know we have a responsibility here - we still use a lot of coal,
particularly lignite," she said. "Even within a wealthy country like
Germany there are conflicts need to be solved in a calm and reliable
The German power sector is currently around 45 percent reliant on coal,
largely because of the decision to phase out nuclear power in the wake
of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The country is now far off track for
meeting its 2020 emissions reduction targets.
The situation is epitomized by the Hambach open-pit coal mine just
outside Bonn. It is Europe's most carbon-emitting spot.
Despite her acknowledgement of Germany's coal addiction, environmental
NGOs criticized the chancellor for not offering solutions. "The
chancellor’s climate leadership credibility was already hanging in the
balance, and continues to do so," said Jennifer Morgan from Greenpeace.
"She talked of trust and reliability, but where is her reliability?"