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German protesters oppose coal mine expansion


Climate change activists have been protesting a coal mine expansion. Associated Press/Photo by Michael Probst

German protesters oppose coal mine expansion

German police on Wednesday began evicting environmental activists from an otherwise empty village west of Cologne. The village of Luetzerath is scheduled to be demolished for the expansion of a lignite coal mine operated by energy company RWE. Around 200 climate change activists gathered in the empty village on Tuesday, ignored a court ruling banning them from the area, and reportedly set up barricades as police began moving in. German officials say the coal located under the city is needed to maintain the country’s energy security after the supply of Russian gas was cut due to the war in Ukraine.

What are Germany’s long-term plans for coal power? Germany aims to become carbon-neutral by 2045 but restricted access to Russian fossil fuels led the country to reactivate some coal-fired power plants. Luetzerath is likely the last village to be leveled for coal mine expansions, as RWE has scrapped plans to demolish five other villages.

Dig deeper: Read Esther Eaton’s report in WORLD Magazine on how people on both sides of the climate change issue are trying to talk it out.


Lauren Canterberry

Lauren Canterberry is a reporter for WORLD. She graduated from the World Journalism Institute and the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism, both in 2017. She worked as a local reporter in Texas and now lives in Georgia with her husband.


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