Deepening rift between Green Party and climate movement in Germany

17 January 2023

Online news agency Clean Energy Wire reports that the leadership of Germany’s Green Party has faced broad criticism from the climate movement for agreeing to the demolition of the village of Lützerath to expand a neighbouring mine, as part of a larger deal to exit coal in western Germany by 2030. Green politicians argue that bringing forward the coal phase-out in North Rhine-Westphalia to 2030 is a major climate success, but activists say that the village could have been saved, even when considering supply security in the energy crisis. Many are threatening to abandon support for the party, applying pressure on Green Party politicians to more seriously account for the demands of those who have backed the party until now.

The small western German village of Lützerath has become a target for climate activists. Given Germany’s aims to quit coal ‘ideally’ by 2030 and to reach climate neutrality by 2045, the fate of Lützerath is hotly contested. Several reports question the need to demolish the abandoned village, which has been occupied by climate activists, to guarantee supply security. Others, with an eye on the energy crisis, have supported the government’s push to bring coal plants back online and extend the lifespan of others.

Tensions in Lützerath have been rising in early 2023, as police are set to vacate several hundred activists from the village by mid-January.

Image: Protesters near Lützerath (courtesy of Lützi lebt/Unwisemonkeys CC BY-NC 2.0)

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