Germany will ‘stick to exit from coal’ pledges Scholz

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday urged COP27 participants not to lose sight of renewable energy targets despite the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Coal plant Germany
A coal-fired power plant in Lippendorf, Saxony, on November 7th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jan Woitas

“There must not be a worldwide renaissance of fossil fuels,” Scholz said in a speech at the climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

“And for Germany I can say: there will not be one,” he said. Europe’s largest economy has been squeezed hard as Russian energy imports have dwindled and prices have risen following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.

Long reliant on imports from Moscow to meet its energy needs, Germany has scrambled to shore up its supplies in the face of potential winter shortages.

As a result, officials had made the decision to restart mothballed coal power plants “for a short time”, Scholz said.

Germany would “stick to our exit from coal”, the chancellor assured, with Berlin targeting a complete end for the fossil fuel in 2030.

READ ALSO: German firm RWE to ditch coal power by 2030

As well as falling back on coal, Germany has invested billions into new infrastructure for the import of natural gas from new sources, such as the United States or Qatar.

Such liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals will in time be retrofitted for the import of hydrogen, officials say.

The pressure Russia has been able to exercise by cutting supplies showed that the transition away from fossil fuels was a “security policy imperative”, the chancellor said.

Less global warming meant “fewer droughts and floods, fewer conflicts over resources, less hunger and fewer bad harvests — and more security and well-being for all”, he said.

Germany would up its investments in international environmental programmes, Scholz said, bringing the total to €6 billion.

Funds for the protection of forests alone through 2025 would be doubled to two billion, the development ministry said.

The money will mostly be invested via partnership programmes with countries such as Brazil, Ecuador, Madagascar and Pakistan, according to the ministry.

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Norway and Germany seek Nato-led cooperation for key undersea structures

Germany and Norway want to start a NATO-led alliance to protect critical underwater infrastructure, their leaders said on Wednesday, weeks after explosions hit two key gas pipelines in the fallout from the war in Ukraine.

Norway and Germany seek Nato-led cooperation for key undersea structures

 “We are in the process of asking the NATO Secretary General to set up a coordination office for the protection of underwater infrastructure,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told a press conference in Berlin.

“We take the protection of our critical infrastructure very seriously and nobody should believe that attacks will remain without consequences,” he said.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said the alliance would be “an informal initiative to exchange between civilian and also military actors” with NATO providing “a centre, a coordination point”.

Underwater cables and pipelines were “arteries of the modern economy” and it was necessary to create “a coordinated joint effort to ensure security for this infrastructure”, he said.

Scholz said he and Store would propose the plan to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who is due in Berlin for a security conference. The Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines off the Danish island of Bornholm were targeted by two huge explosions at the end of September.

The pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, had been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Moscow cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected
retaliation to Western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

Although they were not in operation when the leaks occurred, they both still contained gas which spewed up through the water and into the atmosphere.

Russia and Western countries, particularly the United States, have traded bitter barbs over who is responsible for the blasts.

Several European countries have since taken steps to increase security around critical infrastructure. 

The G7 interior ministers warned earlier this month at a meeting in Germany that the Nord Stream explosions had highlighted “the need to better protect our critical infrastructure”.

Norway has become Europe’s main gas supplier in the wake of the war in Ukraine, taking the place of Russia.

The Scandinavian country has a vast network of pipelines, stretching for almost 9,000 kilometres, linking it to the continent, which experts have said are at risk of sabotage.