The Stream

Germany: What’s next for Luetzerath’s anti-coal protesters?

On Wednesday, February 1 at 19:30 GMT:
The occupation of Luetzerath by climate activists was brought to an end last month as German police cleared out demonstrators to make way for the expansion of a lignite coal mine.

Thousands of activists had descended on the rural village as police set out to evict squatters, some of whom had been living there for two years to prevent the European energy company RWE from turning Luetzerath into an open-pit mine. The occupation had come to symbolise public resistance to new fossil fuel extraction while highlighting the conflict between Germany’s long-term climate goals and immediate energy needs.

Expansion of the mine will give RWE access to an additional 280 million tonnes of lignite, which is the most polluting form of coal. Environmental activists argue that plans for new coal mining will jeopardise Germany’s prior climate pledges and goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045.

Amid an energy crisis in the EU, politicians in the nation’s ruling coalition – which include the German Green Party – have said that turning back to coal is a necessary and short-term compromise for energy security. The move has also led some Germans to doubt the government’s commitment to a renewable energy transition.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll look at Germany’s energy outlook and the fallout from the standoff at Luetzerath.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Dina Hamid, @LuetziBleibt 
Environmental activist

Maria-Inti Metzendorf, @mintimetz
Health information scientist

Alexander Grevel, @AlexanderGrevel
Environmental activist