Why keep digging for coal we can’t use?

This SaturdaDSC_0445y, I joined over 6000 people coming together to create a human chain from the deserted village of Borschemich, passing through to Immerath – another almost deserted village – through to the Garzweiler coal mine.  We were united in our message to #endcoal and accelerate the just transition that should have begun yesterday.

These long-standing villIMG_4480ages located in western Germany’s Rhineland have gradually become ghost villages as residents have been bought out and communities broken down by utility company RWE.

RWE is expanding the ninth largest coal mine in the world, despite debts, despite the destruction of homes and farmland, despite high levels of local pollution and radioactivity and of course despite the fact we know this is coal we simply just cannot keep burning if we want to limit catastrophic climate change.

If we are to stay below 2 degrees warming, we have to keep 80% of our known fossil fuel reserves in the ground.  In Europe, for coal, that equates to 89% of our reserves.  It’s no rocket science then that we simply cannot keep digging the coal from Garzweiler – or any of our other European coal mines.

The timing of our action comes at a critical moment when Germany is trying to introduce legislation to limit the emissions from coal fired power stations.  This is in order to meet its overall commitment to reduce emissions by 40% by 2020.IMG_4374

Public support for this has never been stronger – opinion polls show that over 80% of Germans want a coal phase out by 2020.  That’s why we saw a diversity of local citizens – families, farmers and the fire brigade – and a diversity of organisations present at the human chain.

And it’s not just Germans who are calling for a coal phase out.  I wasn’t the only one who traveled to the #AntiKohleKette (anti-coal chain) from further afield.  I was inspired to know I was standing alongside people who had traveled from Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands and beyond.  Whether you live locally and are on the frontlines of the impacts of coal mining or further afield – this vast coal region is Europe’s largest source of CO2 emissions.  It’s something that affects us all.

That’s why the campaigning doesn’t stop here.  To follow the human chain, we will continue to build people power to #endcoal on 14-16th August, with a mass action called “Ende Gelaende” in the same part of Germany.  For more information about the action you can check out the Ende Gelaende website.

After all, why keep digging, destroying and polluting for coal we know we cannot use?

Antikohlekette EG

More photos can be found here and check out the wrap up video from one of the Human Chain organising groups, Campact.