GERMANY wants to stop using coal, a major source of the carbon emissions that drive climate change. But finding the least disruptive way to get there has been a challenge.

A big question is not only when the best mines and power plants will close down, but how quitting coal can be done without generating drawn-out protests or harming the German economy.

A government appointed panel of experts is poised to offer recommendations. Despite months of deliberations, the panel remained undecided on key issues.

A short guide to the stakes at play and some proposed solutions.

Germany is committed to the 2015 Paris climate accord, an international agreement that set a goal of keeping global warming well below two degrees Celsius [3.6F], ideally 1.5C [2.7F]

Achieving the goal will require steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Germany's coal plants produce the most carbon dioxide of any country in Europe and forecasts indicate the country will miss its 2020 target for reducing gas emissions.

The country closed its remaining black coal mines last year, but still imports the fossil fuel from abroad. It also mines and burns lignite, a particularly cheap and dirty-type of coal.

Together, they provide more than one-third of Germany's electricity

Ending the use of coal would help the country meet its emission coals for 2030 and 2050, which entails cut of 55 percent and over 80pc respectively.

Some 20,000 jobs in Germany are tied directly to the coal industry; another 40,000 depend on it indirectly.

That's a vanishingly small number compared to other areas, including renewable energy, but coal jobs are located in economically depressed regions.

The honor and serving of the latest operational research on Coal & Electricity continues.


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