• The CoalExit project focuses on the economy of the coal phase-out. The exit from coal presents various opportunities but also risks, which will be further analyzed throughout the project. The focus of the project is on the analysis of the changes for the energy system, the effects on the associated structural change and new political options for a socially acceptable coal phase-out in Germany but also globally.

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    Project term:

    01.10.2017 to 30.09.2022


    System Integration, Climate Protection

    Project leader:

    One of the central societal questions after the climate conferences COP21 and COP22 is how the global consumption of coal can be reduced in a targeted manner through adequate energy and climate policies to contain the consequences of climate change. In previous energy and climate research, the complex distribution effects of the necessary transformation processes between actors, sectors, regions, and nations have not yet been sufficiently considered. However, an analysis of the upcoming structural change due to the coal phase-out is essential for shaping the emerging transformation processes so not to endanger the social acceptance of a global energy transition.

    The project therefore examines the design options for a socially acceptable coal phase-out plan for Germany. These options consider findings from transformation processes that have already been completed, continuous feedback from involved stakeholders, institutional considerations on policy design, legal issues and quantitative calculations on the European electricity market, as well as the induced employment effects. A framework is being developed for the German coal phase-out which combines the goals of sustainability, security of supply, competitiveness, and social compatibility. Building on this, country case studies have been used to examine the transferability of these findings on the German coal phase-out to other countries of which coal currently has a great (energy) economic importance, i.e. in particular China, Colombia, India and South Africa. Since far-reaching climate change avoidance can not only be achieved through national efforts or by only restricting coal consumption, the implications for the international coal market and interdependencies with other fossil raw material markets such as crude oil and natural gas have also been considered.

    The results of the transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary research project will expand both the existing literature for energy and climate economics as well as energy and climate policies. Furthermore, the findings will be available as a basis for political decision-making processes and will also be made available in a targeted manner as easily accessible information for broad access to society at home and abroad on the subject of the coal phase-out and social transformation processes.

    In addition, CoalExit is part of the Coal Transitions Research Hub, an international research platform that aims to develop reliable and feasible paths and political guidelines for transformations in the energy sector of coal-using countries: