Brown Coal: Stock Guarantee for Zombies – SPIEGEL ONLINE

Sunday, 24.11.2019
14:13 clock

  The liver is gone, or at least almost. If you do not stop drinking, say the doctors, then it will soon be over with you. Okay, says the alcoholic. I stop. For real! I stop, right now. The children of the alcoholic welcome that, but are wary of experience. You clear out the bar in the living room cabinet wall. Must go everything.


In the evening, when the children are gone, the purified alcoholic goes into the cellar. Huch: There are still a few leftovers! Three bottles of vodka from Russia, this single malt he once got, a bottle of Grand Marnier a Blue Curacao, an absinthe with a hand-labeled bottle, and behind the winter tires a whole box of red wine. You can not dump everything! That would be really waste. The alcoholic thinks and takes in the cellar a deep sip from the first vodka bottle.

Mercury, Sulfur Dioxide, Sulfate, Chloride …

This is roughly how the German Federal Government behaves in relation to lignite. There is still so much! You can not throw everything away, or leave it in the ground! Although it is clear that this will continue to tear its climate goals.

  According to the Federal Environment Agency and also according to the brown coal association DEBRIV, about 36 billion tons of hard coal, which can be mined today, are stored in Germany's soil. If you were to promote and burn them, the overall CO2 budget of all humankind would be used up to reach the 1.5-degree target in one fell swoop, based on a thumb calculation of the BUND, according to which one ton of burnt brown coal produces one ton of CO2.


The Federal Government has set itself the goal that Germany may not emit more than 7.5 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2030. Overall, of course, including transport, industry and so on. Even this goal is, in a global comparison, unfairly lax. Only the remaining degradable lignite in the currently "approved and developed" mining areas, according to the above calculation, amounts to 3.7 billion tonnes of CO2.


  Lignite is the dirtiest of all fossil fuels, the leader among CO2 polluters and also an almost inexhaustible source of other toxic substances: mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides. The open pit releases sulphate and chloride into the groundwater, into the surface water iron, which "upsets" the rivers and, according to the Federal Environmental Agency, disturbs "aquatic communities".

  By the way, many of these substances, unlike the so-called "infrasound", the much-vaunted wind force nocebo, are actually very harmful to human health.

Turnover lignite


Lignite is a wonderfully stable and calculable revenue generator for the companies that earn from it. This is because RWE and LEAG, which together have a market share of 87 percent, do not have to buy coal on the market but send it directly from the open pit mine to their power plants. How cheap the self-produced lignite really is, is not revealed by the energy supply companies experience, according to the Federal Environmental Agency.

  In addition, cheap lignite, which is often said to be a "subsidy-free" fuel, is actually coddled by lawmakers. Lignite is exempt from the so-called "mineral resource tax" and the mining companies are also largely exempt from the so-called "water abstraction charges". They suck on average for about 17-20 million euros of water from the circulation, free.

  The lignite also benefits from, no joke, exemptions in the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) and the so-called own power privilege. All this adds up to hundreds of millions a year.

The environmental damage is financed by the taxpayer

  The crazy thing is that, despite all this, lignite would no longer be profitable if the operators of these climate and landscape destruction factories were even held accountable for the environmental damage they cause. As a reminder: According to the Federal Environment Agency produces a ton of CO2 climate consequential damages in the amount of 180 €.

Stock guarantee for smelly zombies

  In other words, the CO2 tax of 10 euros per tonne planned by the German government, which is considered to be far too low by all who are familiar with it, not least has one purpose: It holds the German lignite-fired power plants, the largest dirt and CO2 spinners in the country, alive. The open pit meanwhile, according to UBA eat on average two hectares of landscape per day.

  Apparently not least, in order to secure the continued existence of these smelly zombies even further, coal fans in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and in the economic wing of the CDU now also torpedo the further expansion of wind energy in Germany. If that is competitive, lignite will quickly become too expensive.


And if their power reaches, supplemented with modern gas-fired power plants for the base load, then lignite-fired power plants can be switched off faster. But that would only be possible if power generation finally cost almost anything that really causes damage. That should actually be clear to economic politicians. The Federal Association of German Industry, for example, finds the wind energy plans of the Minister of Economic Affairs also "inexplicable."

  To put it in a nutshell: It is very clear that we have to rebuild our energy supply, and there is no way around it. Parts of the Union are actively delaying this so that RWE and LEAG can dig up a little more money. The alcoholic is still any excuse right to once again go into the basement. Are there any leftovers?

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