Leaders and laggards: Europe’s fitful coal exit

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With Germany announcing a phase-out of coal by 2038 earlier this year, and Italy already making moves to shut down its coal plants by 2025, it is clear that coal has outstayed its welcome in the age of decarbonisation. However throughout Europe, arguably a global leader on decarbonisation, progress on actually eradicating coal-fired power has been inconsistent. The UK, currently the region’s decarbonisation success story, boasts days and weeks of coal-free power generation thanks to an ambitious carbon policy. Several EU nations are hot on the UK’s heels, but elsewhere in the bloc the commitment to reducing the role of coal in the power mix ranges from ambivalent to intransigent.

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