Germany is leader in lignite mining. lignite is the coal which is most harmful to nature, people and the climate. Although Germany has agreed to transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy, it still continues to mine, which is not only accountable for the destruction of landscape and the forced resettlement of people and animals but also for almost half of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions (Greenpeace, 2018).
One current topic that enrages many Germans is the eviction and the following deforestation in the Hambach forest. The Hambach forest is a 12.000 year old forest in the west of Germany which has to come off due to the start of the brown coal mining of RWE AG, an electric utilities company. It has become the symbol of resistance against coal mining as for six years now the forest is occupied by activists who want to save this ecological important mixed forest. RWE has bought the forest in 1978 and less than one tenth of its once 5500ha remain today (Hambach Forest, 2018).
Forests are important for the binding of 50% of carbon dioxide and converting it to oxygen, for the preventing of soil erosion and for the mitigation of extreme climate conditions. The clearing of the forest would encourage the rise of greenhouse gas emissions and destroy the haunt of endangered animals (Greenpeace, 2018).
However, even the death of a journalist in the events of the eviction cannot stop RWE to continue the clearing, which continues today after a few days of mourning.
Majority of Germans against clearance
According to the opinion research institute Emnid 75% of Germans want to stop the deforestation of the Hambach Forest. 73% furthermore want a dropping out of the coal extraction by 2030 or before (Zeit Online, 2018).
With this significant number of people being against the clearing the German government in Berlin should start to act on this topic. RWEs image damage is already extreme and it is doubtful if they are able to fully recover after the coal extraction. So they should have an insight and stop the eviction and the following actions and invest in renewable energies instead. And then higher the best crisis management team the wants to clean up the mess they created.
Greenpeace (2018) Kurzinfo Braunkohle; Braunkohle: Ein schmutziges Geschäft [online] [accessed 24. Sep] https://www.greenpeace.de/sites/www.greenpeace.de/files/publications/a01305_es_gp_kurzinfo_braunkohle_04_18.pdf
Greenpeace (2018) Urwälder und Klima [online] [accessed 24. Sep] https://www.greenpeace.de/themen/walder/urwalder/urwalder-und-klima
Hambach Forst (2018) [online] [accessed 24. Sep] https://hambachforest.org/?noredirect=en_US
Zeit online (2018) Mehrheit der Deutschen gegen Rodung des Hambacher Forsts [online] [accessed 24. Sep] https://www.zeit.de/gesellschaft/2018-09/zivilgesellschaft-rodung-hambacher-forst-stopp-umfrage