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  • Voltaire Staff

Germany turns to coal amid energy 'crisis'

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

As the world seeks to phase out fossil fuels by 2050, Germany is dismantling one of its wind farms to build a coal mine -- a major source of air pollution and a bête noire of climate activists.

According to website Brussels Signal, energy company RWE has been taking down wind turbines in North Rhine Westphalia since August 2023 to make room for digging up more brown coal.

Germany has been a frontrunner when it comes to adoption of green energy, which constitutes more than 50 per cent of its overall energy production.

A step back to coal, however minor, blemishes the country's otherwise credentials of a green champion.

According to reports, the energy crunch may have in part been compounded by the country's decision to shun nuclear energy in the wake of Fukushima reactor accident in 2011.

Germany's Minister for Economy and Climate Action, Robert Habeck, has defended the expansion of the Garzweiler open-pit mine, describing it as the "right decision" and cited energy crisis caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine behind the move.

While Germany's disaffection from coal far from over,  a global climate change conference recently concluded with an agreement marking the "beginning of the end" of the fossil fuel era.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) that concluded on December 13 aimed for a quick, fair transition with substantial emissions cuts and increased funding.

Nearly 200 Parties met in Dubai, agreeing on the world's first 'global stocktake' to enhance climate action by the end of the decade, targeting the goal of keeping global temperature within 1.5 degrees Celsius and the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43 per cent by 2030.

The agreement calls for global efforts to triple renewable energy capacity and double energy efficiency by 2030. Parties are encouraged to set ambitious emission reduction targets aligned with the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit by 2025.

RWE, on the other hand, is not only dismantling wind turbines but is also demolishing a state highway, the L12, which is located near the windmills. This decision has caused frustration among residents who rely on the roadway for regular use.

According to RWE spokesperson Guido Steffen, the expansion of the facility is considered the "most significant operational plan under the mining law."



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