An opinion piece in the Financial Times has suggested that Germany may end its use of coal sooner than the scheduled 2038 date recommended by the country’s Coal Commission. The argument is that investment in coal will cease because at a maximum the lifespan of new mines or generation capacity – or, more importantly, refurbishments or upgrades – will be only 20 years. At the same time, gas will be available to replace coal, particularly as the NordStream2 project comes online, where renewables do not. Furthermore, the compensation that will be available to coal asset owners may also tempt them into retirement of the assets sooner than envisaged. It is an interesting argument that will be tested by the difficulty in phasing out the fuel from its ~40% share in German power generation and significant use in industry. Such a major transition is bound to take a substantial amount of time.