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Decision of the 12th Synod of the EKD on withdrawing from coal for energy production

Synod advocates a rapid withdrawal from electrical power production by coal (lignite and anthracite), which would implement the Paris Climate Agreement and contribute to reaching the German climate targets without further delay. For that to be possible, half of the coal-fired power stations, preferably the oldest and most inefficient, must be shut down in the near future.

18 November 2018

Decision
of the 12th Synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany at its 5th session
on withdrawing from coal for energy production

Synod advocates a rapid withdrawal from electrical power production by coal(lignite and anthracite), which would implement the Paris Climate Agreement and contribute to reaching the German climate targets without further delay. For that to be possible, half of the coal-fired power stations, preferably the oldest and most inefficient, must be shut down in the near future.

Synod calls on policy-makers to ensure that the structural change entailed by withdrawing from coal is organised in a socially acceptable way and, further, to develop future prospects for the regions concerned.WithgreatinterestSynod took note of the interim report issued on 25 October2018by the government commission“Growth, Structural Change and Employment”, which presents a very nuanced picture of possible action for the social and structural development of the lignite-extracting regions. Synod expressly supports the intention of the commission to harmonise “climate protection, good jobs and industry” and thereby to “contribute to implementing the leading principle of sustainability” (p.28). Synod welcomes the fact that civil society is to be actively involved in the process of structural development, and sees that as being a responsibility of the churches as well.

Synod urges that a specific date be set for withdrawing from coal. In so doing, it takes up the decision of the synod of the Evangelical Church ofBerlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia of 27 October 2018. The point in time must be based on knowledge of the international climate targets and be specified in the planned German law on climate protection. Reliable studies show that a process of withdrawing from coal that meets the needs of social acceptability, energy security and climate protection is both necessary and feasible. Withdrawal from coal as a source of energy can be achieved by 2035, if not before.

The coal extraction sites and regions concerned will need long-term planning certainty so that they can adjust to the necessary changes and initiate appropriate development processes. The longer the beginning of structural transformation is postponed, the greater the risk of failing to meet the climate targets and allowing fractured and unacceptable social structures to emerge.

Würzburg, 14 November 2018

The President of Synod
Evangelical Church in Germany
Dr. Irmgard Schwaetzer

Please note: The publication of synod decisions takes place subject to the approval of the final version by the president of synod.