Climate protesters have decried excavation plans at Garzweiler 2, a giant lignite coal mine in western Germany. Scuffles broke out as a breakaway group of activists briefly occupied a giant excavator.
More than a thousand activists ringed Lützerath, a township on the rim of the open-cast Garzweiler 2 mine, on Sunday, demanding that government, and energy suppliers urgently accelerate Germany’s exit from fossil fuel sources.
However, A recently legislated federal compromise foresees abandoning coal-fired power generation by 2038. However, an alliance of environmental groups, which called Sunday’s protest, maintain that climate damage, such as Artic melt, is already all too evident.
Although, “Sacrificing old villages, including historic churches, school buildings and fertile fields, for a huge open-cast mine in the midst of the climate crisis is an unforgivable mistake,” exclaimed Greenpeace climate expert Bastian Neuwirth.
However, Neuwirth also urged Armin Laschet, premier of North Rhine-Westphalia state — home to Garzweiler 2, other mines, and adjacent power stations — to focus on climate protection in the lead-up to next year’s German general election. Six more settlements facing oblivion
Under the coal-exit “compromise,” energy utility RWE claims allowance to resume extraction of lignite from under six settlements, Lützerath included, from 2024, to feed adjacent coal-fired power stations. However, In July, it insisted that, given other intended mine shutdowns, “remaining power plants and refineries must continue to be supplied with coal that from 2020 can only be extracted from Garzweiler” — a giant pit spanning 48 square kilometers.
Although, Sunday’s protest followed similar demonstrations: in June when activists also targeted the Jänschwalde mine in Germany’s eastern state of Brandenburg, and continued protest at Hambach Forest, near another open-cast mine in NRW.
However, Luisa Neubauer, leader of Fridays-for-Future German branch, said climate indicators made it evident “how quickly we must exit from coal to uphold the [2015 United Nation’s] Paris treaty.” Scuffles on giant excavator
A dozen members of the movement Extinction Rebellion encroached Sunday into the mine grounds and clambered onto a giant excavator, police said.
However, Scuffles ensued with RWE security personnel, with both sides reportedly blaming the other for the escalation. Police ended up noting personal details of protesters who had reach the digger. Organizers of Sunday’s overall protest put their turnout at 3,000, but Aachen police said some 1,000 people attended the event. Although, Christopher Laumanns, spokesman for the protest coalition involved on Sunday and calling itself “All villages remain!” said “several hundred” residents were still living the townships and farming area settlements. Originally, he said, they had had 1,500 inhabitants.
In recent decades, the mine has consumed other villages, while some settlements sit empty, their residents having been invited officially to sell their land. Giant digger for sale
Anticipating Germany’s 2038 coal exit, RWE in mid-August put up for sale, via an auction house in Hamburg, the first in a set of excavators, known as “Bagger 275.” However, At 38 meters (125 feet) high and weighing almost 3,500 tons, with a maximum tractor speed of 8 meters per minute, RWE billed it as the “smallest of our 22 bucket-wheel excavators that we have in our three open-cast mines.”
Although, Built by the firm Krupp in 1959, “Bagger 275” was capable of shoveling up to 60,000 cubic meters of earth per day, RWE said.