Open hernia in Lützerath
Greens and climate activists tear each other apart
The German village of Lützerath is to be dredged away for lignite mining. On the other hand, numerous local climate activists are fighting back. Irony of fate: The deal was engineered by the Greens, of all people.
Climate activists have barricaded themselves in the hamlet of Lützerath, southwest of the German city of Düsseldorf.
George NopperEditor News
Treason. Hypocrisy. The climate protectors in Germany are in tatters. The occupation of the hamlet of Lützerath by activists shows this very clearly. With the action, the participants are fighting against the planned mining of the lignite deposits there. The approval for the work was granted by the Greens of all people: Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (53) and North Rhine-Westphalian Economics Minister Mona Neubaur (45) negotiated a deal with the energy company RWE last October. According to this, the coal deposits in Lützerath may be exploited in return for an early postponement of the phase-out of lignite mining from 2038 to 2030.
The federal government’s traffic light alliance is under pressure: the nuclear phase-out is to be completed by April 15 of this year at the latest. Then there is the energy crisis – because of the Ukraine war, no more Russian gas flows to Germany. How are you supposed to do all of this at the same time? Lützerath offered a remedy. At the same time, the service life of two lignite-fired power plants, which should have been shut down at the end of the year, was extended until the end of March 2024. In the eyes of the federal government, the lignite reserves of Lützerath must help to bridge an impending power shortage.
Molotov cocktails and stones: Videos show violence during the evacuation campaign in Lützerath(00:45)
250 kilos of lignite in front of party headquarters
This causes great resentment among the Greens, among many young politicians and climate activists. You feel betrayed. Lützerath even leads to a real ordeal within the climate movement. This is reflected, among other things, in the fact that some climate protectors have already written off the Greens. On Tuesday, activists dumped 250 kilos of lignite briquettes in front of the Green Party headquarters in Düsseldorf. «Place posters for climate protection in the election campaign. Make a pact with RWE after the election!”, read the banners. “We wanted to hold the Greens up to the mirror that they are no longer the climate protection party, but the coal party,” said a spokesman for the activists.
Camp should be cleared: Hundreds of police officers set out in the morning(00:19)
Some Greens openly show solidarity with the Lützerath activists. This includes, for example, the co-federal chairman of the Green Youth, Timon Dzienus (26), who mingled with the people on site on Wednesday and posed on Twitter with an outstretched fist. The fact that the Greens made the deal with RWE possible sometimes caused bizarre situations. The Greens member of the Bundestag Kathrin Henneberger (35), for example, got into trouble during a TV interview in Lützerath. When the TV presenter asked her that brown coal mining was made possible by a Green Minister, she didn’t dare criticize the party leadership. Instead, she took refuge in phrases: “So the cause of the problem is that the energy transition has been overslept for decades.” Henneberger also tried to sweep the obvious break between the climate movement and the Greens under the carpet: As a Greens member, she is still welcome among climate activists, despite her party’s support for the coal deal.
Stress test in Berlin
Activist Luisa Neubauer (26), leader of the German Fridays for Future movement and also a member of the Greens, does not hold back in criticizing the party. “Some things are too good to be true,” she wrote on Instagram. “And this green story about the coal phase-out in 2030, which is supposed to be magically good for both RWE and the climate, is something like that.” The main criticism of the climate activists of the Greens: In the deal with RWE, the amount of coal will not be limited despite the early exit and thus not a single ton of CO₂ will be saved. In the meantime, the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (20) has announced that she will take part in a protest against the eviction of Lützerath scheduled for Saturday.
For the Greens, however, there will soon be another endurance test. On February 12, a repeat election will take place in Berlin, in which the Green Party Bettina Jarasch (54) would like to be elected Governing Mayor. The dispute over Lützerath comes at the worst possible time for them. “We will not be distributing flyers for the election at the weekend, but will stand by the side of the movement in Lützerath,” says a spokeswoman for the Green Youth Berlin to the “Taz”. “That’s the priority right now.” With up to eight buses they want to arrive at the demonstration in Lützerath on Saturday.