‘’We will close the last nuclear power plant in 2022 – then the big challenge is to reduce coal,’’ admitted Armin Laschet, Minister-President, State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. While the last active black coal mine in the region is planned to close in December 2018, mining for brown coal is slated to continue. However, regional leaders are taking action to make sure the days of brown coal will soon be over, for example, through low emission transport. This can only be done by cooperating with citizens and facilitating behavior change. The State of North Rhine-Westphalia is building long distance bike paths for commuters – applying lessons learned from the Netherlands – and will soon host a line of factories for electric cars and lorries.
There is much to be done, but through cooperation with local businesses (e.g .DHL), researchers, and citizens, we can make the dream of sustainable development a reality.