The Afterlife of German Coal Mining And The Future Of Green Jobs
“Germany has a clear energy transition plan based on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and we want to increase the share of renewable energy” Jürgen Kretschmann: German Economist And University President
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This interview is part of the Global Speaker Series. A podcast partnership between the Wyoming Humanities (ThinkWY.org) and the Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs (www.jhcga.org). With the goal of educating and inspiring listeners, the series interviews global thought leaders on relevant issues impacting Wyoming and the world such as the future of energy, the impacts of climate change, trends in business and entrepreneurship, foreign policy, issues impacting global coal communities, and more.
Jürgen Kretschmann , German economist and university president discusses the future of coal energy in Germany. Born and raised in Gelsenkirchen, His post doctorate research followed, specializing in geo-resources and materials science.
Kretschmann held various management positions at Ruhrkohle AG. RAG AG, formerly Ruhrkohle AG, is the largest German coal mining corporation. The company headquarters are in Essen in the Ruhr area. The company was founded on 27 November 1968, consolidating several coalmining corporations into the Ruhrkohle AG. Jürgen served as personal advisor to the Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board and Labour Director of the RAG.
In 2001, he joined RAG BILDUNG GmbH as a member of the management board. Since 2006, he is chairperson of the management board of DMT-Gesellschaft für Lehre und Bildung GmbH and president of the Technische Hochschule Georg Agricola University in Bochum. DMT-Gesellschaft für Lehre und Bildung mbH (DMT-LB), based in Bochum, is a collective association of the German coal industry and acts as the funding organization of Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum (German Mining Museum) .
Kretschmann is a member of numerous national and international professional bodies, currently (2018/19) President of the Society of Mining Professors.
Here is a sampling of some of the questions we asked Jürgen:
- Wyoming is the U.S.’s largest producer of coal and in recent years has been on the frontline in grappling with the changing economics of coal. At one time the Ruhr region that you come from in Germany, was one of Europe’s leading coal producing regions. Why did mines in Germany close and what was the government response?
- What are Germany’s current climate goals? Does Germany plan to continue to use coal as part of its energy mix into the future?
- What are the main differences between Germany and the US in dealing with these public policy challenges – for example the loss of jobs in coal mining?
- On the energy front – here in Wyoming there has been a big push to lead the nation in carbon capture technologies. Are there similar efforts underway in Germany?