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The German energy company RWE will end the use of coal by 2030

BERLIN (AP) — German energy company RWE said Tuesday it will phase out coal burning by 2030, saving 280 million metric tons of climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions.

The decision will accelerate the closure of some of Europe’s most polluting power plants and a large lignite mine in western Germany.

It will also prevent the eviction of residents of several towns and farms to the west of Cologne, near the Garzweiler mine. The exception is Luetzerath, a village that has been the focus of protests by environmentalists and must now be cleaned up to extract more coal in the short term.

The government argues that this is necessary to ensure energy security amid the fallout from Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

RWE’s announcement boosts the German government’s efforts to bring forward the deadline for phasing out coal use by eight years as part of the country’s goal to end its greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

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Economy Minister Robert Habeck, who is responsible for energy, said negotiations were underway with the operators of Germany’s other coal mines and eight coal-fired power plants.

Climate activist group Fridays for Future said the announcement that Luetzerath will be destroyed and some coal plants temporarily kept online for longer to cover possible power shortfalls was “cynical”. He said that protests against the plan would be organized in various places in Germany.

In parallel with its coal phase-out, RWE said it would expand renewable energy production and build gas-fired power plants capable of burning hydrogen.

RWE, which over the weekend announced its purchase of US-based Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses, said it is now on a path that is consistent with the 2015 Paris climate agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

Separately on Tuesday, the Netherlands said it plans to join a German-led initiative to promote increasing the market for hydrogen produced from renewable energy.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the two countries would also explore cooperation on future offshore wind farms in the North Sea that would produce both electricity and “green hydrogen.”

Follow AP coverage of climate and environment issues at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

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