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German electricity exports are fueling domestic coal mining

14 November 2017
by Sandbag -- last modified 14 November 2017

Germany could cut the equivalent of Hungary’s annual emissions, just by stopping electricity exports. A new report released by the climate thinktank Sandbag shows Germany exported 49TWh of electricity in 2016 - and is on course for even more in 2017 - from the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel, lignite.


  • New report finds lignite (braunkohle) is generating more electricity than Germany needs
  • Germany exports the equivalent of the annual output from 7GW of lignite generation - producing 59m tonnes of avoidable CO2 emissions in the process.
  • Cutting this 7GW of lignite would (almost) allow Germany to meet its 2020 climate target

Germany is on track to be emitting 98Mt too much CO2 to meet its 2020 targets. Cutting 7GW of lignite used for electricity exports could shave 59Mt of CO2 off that total.

View the report online

40TWh of German lignite electricity exports already in 2017

Charles Moore, Analyst commented:

Without drastic action Germany will miss its 2020 climate targets by an extraordinary margin, leaving its reputation as a climate leader in tatters. The problem is clear, Germany has failed to tackle its brown coal addiction.

With coalition negotiations ongoing with the Green Party and the world’s leaders descending on Bonn for the COP23 climate change negotiations - could Angela Merkel ask for a better stage to take back the initiative?

Sandbag is a London and Brussels-based not-for-profit think tank conducting research and campaigning for cost-effective climate policies.

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