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German official says neighbors closely watching coal debate

Published
A giant bucket wheel digs for lignite at the Hambach open pit mining near the village Elsdorf, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (Federico Gambarini/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — A senior German official says neighboring countries are closely watching Germany's political debate on phasing out the use of coal.

Brandenburg governor Dietmar Woidke said Wednesday that "it's really important to create positive examples" of countries taking decisions to curb climate change.

A panel of experts, including Woidke, has been discussing how and when to close down Germany's remaining lignite mines. It is expected to deliver its recommendations to the government this month. A key question is what kind of financial support affected regions will get to tackle the transition away from coal.

Woidke said Europe has 41 regions where coal is mined, including in less prosperous countries such as Poland, Slovakia and Bulgaria, and "they are looking to us to see whether we can tell a positive story."

In this Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, file photo, protestor holds a sign demanding to end coal burning during the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP) climate talks in Bonn, Germany. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Giant bucket wheels dig for lignite at the Hambach open pit mining near the village Elsdorf, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (Federico Gambarini/dpa via AP)
In this Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, file photo, protestor holds a sign demanding to end coal burning during the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP) climate talks in Bonn, Germany. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
In this Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, file photo, protestor holds a sign demanding to end coal burning during the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP) climate talks in Bonn, Germany. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Giant bucket wheels dig for lignite at the Hambach open pit mining near the village Elsdorf, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (Federico Gambarini/dpa via AP)
Giant bucket wheels dig for lignite at the Hambach open pit mining near the village Elsdorf, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (Federico Gambarini/dpa via AP)
A giant bucket wheel digs for lignite at the Hambach open pit mining near the village Elsdorf, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (Federico Gambarini/dpa via AP)
A giant bucket wheel digs for lignite at the Hambach open pit mining near the village Elsdorf, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (Federico Gambarini/dpa via AP)