Instead of initiating a controlled coal exit, Vattenvall and with it the Swedish government wants to evade responsibility for climate protection and the workers in the Lausitz coal mining region, leaving the field to the tough investor EPH.
A coal phaseout would not be (like you write) a „unilateraly“ one, forced by the German government. It also is the consequence of the Swedish government’s committments.
Why? The Swedish government signed several national and international commitments for climate protection. Climate Protection is only possible when power plants and opencast mines are shut down. Selling plants and mines to EPH won’t in fact reduce any emissions. The emissions keep the same as before. By dumping responsibility for Vattenfall’s extremely climate-damaging lignite sector, the Swedish Government continues to the worsening of the climate crisis.
You write „don’t expect Sweden to pay for … closing the coal mines“.
Let’s say it like this: For decades Vattenfall has earned billions on the lignite.
It is totally unsecured, if the immense costs for the re-cultivation of the gigantic open pit holes and the pension funds of the workes will be covered with the 1,7 billion Euro Vattenfall gave to EPH. That is why we are saying: Yes! We expect Sweden to take responsibility. It is Vattenfall and therefore Sweden which has to take responsibility and with it also has to pay for the consequences of its business (the recultivation of the mining area and the pension funds of the workers). Up to now it seems that immense costs will be externalized to the general public – not a fair deal for climate and society!
In fact you are right: With its „current policy“ Germany won’t be able to achieve a fair and successful „Energiewende“, i.e. a change of its energy system towards renewables.
We are also demanding the German government: Stop the sellout of the Renewable Energy Law „EEG“. What is needed is a fair basis for the further success of the reorganisation of the energy system towards 100 % renewables. But what we also need is a closing of the Vattenfall lignite assets in Germany.
Mail to ROBIN WOOD, sent 2016-04-27:
Dear Robin, while I completely agree with you that coal should be phased out, Germany is a rich country. If you want to phase out coal, lobby your own government to take over and close the coal mines, don't expect Sweden to pay for it or to decide your energy policy by unilateraly closing mines and power plants. Not closing your nuclear power plants would probably make getting rid of coal easier, but that's your choice. Apparently EPH figure you won't be able to wean yourself off coal with your current policy, and that is more worrying than who owns the mines. Sincerely, XY