05 February 2018

Sacrificing culture and communities for coal

Opened in 1891 and known locally as the Immerather Dom, the grand Romanesque building was the heart of Immerath village, and has become a symbol of the lost heritage and community destruction that has accompanied the expansion of Germany’s vast Rhineland coal mines.

Two of the dirtiest plants in Germany are fed by Garzweiler,the open pit lignite mine set to swallow Immerath and, if business as usual continues, the homes and communities of more than 1,600 people in nearby towns like Keyenberg. While German politicians and members of its coal commission continue to wring their hands about the future of coal, it is very clear that the industry has no future beyond 2030. Two thirds of lignite workers will have retired by then, and if Germany is to have any hope of living up to its commitment to the Paris Agreement its last plant will need also need to be closed by then.

The simple truth is: coal has maybe no future, and destroying communities and heritage for a mine that will not be needed in 11 years time is both pointless and tragic. It’s time for Germany to be a proper leader, to speed up its Energiewende, and make the decisions it needs to make now to ensure it is beyond coal by 2030.

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