Germany serves as example on coal issue

It is appropriate that a major conference on climate change – and what to do about it – is being held this week in Berlin. There, Germans once adamant about closing coal-fired power plants may have something to say about the ill-considered rush to judgment on them.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, often cited by those who insist fossil fuel burning is an environmental disaster, is holding the conference. Its goal is to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Just a few years ago, German leaders were entirely on board with the IPCC. They had made plans to cut back drastically on coal-fired power plants.

But then the high cost to the German economy of doing that became apparent. And, some Germans began to notice that IPCC predictions of drastic consequences of climate change seemed overblown.

Now Germany is building new coal-fired power plants and increasing its reliance on them for electricity. Perhaps Germans who have begun to think more clearly about climate change can educate those at the IPCC conference about reality.