Manor Road, Seminar room B
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Achieving the world’s climate mitigation targets requires a global coal phaseout well before mid-century, leaving many active mines and coal-fired power plants stranded before their full economic potential is exhausted. In the absence of stringent policies, climate litigation could help prematurely close high emitting mines and power plants. We assess the permits granted to RWE Power to mine 1.35 billion tonnes of lignite in the Hambach Forest and find that the net present value of halting mining operations at Hambach is approximately €153 - €250 billion due to avoided air pollution and CO2 emission costs over a 34-year period, exceeding the market value of lignite by a factor of 13 and, the cost of compensating mining workers by a factor of 20. Our evaluation suggests that revoking active mining permits is a legally plausible, low-cost and replicable means of expediting the decline of coal. We discuss whether such interventions could be scaled up and amplified to help decarbonise the system (i.e. whether they are 'sensitive interventions').