When the Exit?

The Difficult Politics of German Coal

in German Politics and Society
Tessa Coggio Georgetown University

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Thane Gustafson Georgetown University

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This article considers Germany's contentious exit from brown coal (lignite), now set for 2038. While greener alternatives, such as wind, solar, or natural gas have been reducing coal's standing in Germany's energy mix for years, coal proponents, backed by special interests, have pushed back at all levels of government. With a focus on the politics of coal during the 2017 parliamentary elections, the tedious months of coalition negotiations and the work of the coal committee since summer 2018, we explore how policymakers try to reconcile competing interests at the federal state, local, as well as international levels.

Contributor Notes

Tessa Coggio recently received a Master of Arts at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in the BMW Center for German and European Studies. Prior to Georgetown, Coggio was an International Parliamentary Scholar at the German Bundestag and a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in eastern Germany.

Thane Gustafson, Professor of Government at Georgetown University, is a widely recognized authority on Eurasia who has spent forty years studying and traveling in Russia, Ukraine, and the rest of the Former Soviet Union. Recent books include Wheel of Fortune: the Battle for Oil and Power in Russia (Cambridge, 2012) and The Bridge: Natural Gas in a Redivided Europe (Cambridge, forthcoming 2020). Formerly a professor at Harvard University and a political analyst at the Rand Corporation, Dr. Gustafson holds a BS from the University of Illinois in political science and chemistry, and a PhD in government from Harvard University.

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