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Saturday, September 23, 2023

The conflict with the police continues. Activists want to save a German village from destruction

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I am Joel Fitzgerald, a news website author for The News Dept. I have worked in the media and journalism industry for over 10 years and specialize in world news. My articles have been featured in prominent publications such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, where I am an expert contributor on global affairs. I also write extensively on topics related to politics, economics, business, finance and technology. My work has been recognized with numerous awards from organizations such as the United Nations Press Corps and Associated Press Editors Association of America (APEA). In addition to my writing career, I have held various roles within the field of communications ranging from public relations specialist to digital strategist.

The municipality of Lützerath in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has become a battleground between the coal industry and the climate movement. This week, police began evacuating the village, which had to be completely destroyed by coal mining, and dragged away the activists who occupied the village that was abandoned a year ago. How does the German government explain the need to mine the land under Lützerath?

What will you hear at 5:59 in today’s episode?

  • Why did the German government allow the small village of Lützerath to be destroyed?
  • How does this move fit into an energy transition drive that should move Germany towards renewables?
  • How could a possible slowdown in economic production in Germany affect the Czech economy?

The small village of Lützerath will be the last municipality in Germany to disappear due to coal mining. His fate was determined last year when an agreement was reached between the German government and energy company RWE. The company has pledged to stop coal mining by 2030 in exchange for expanding the mine in the west of the country and expanding the operation of some coal-fired power plants.

The paradox is that Robert Habeck, Minister of Economy and Climate Protection, representing the German Green Party, is behind the deal with RWE.

Activists soon moved to the endangered settlement, which gradually became a symbol of the fight against the climate crisis. Dozens of protesters decided to defend him to his last breath. “There is no one today, there are empty houses. The whole village was basically occupied by[activists],” he says. Jan Brož, editor of Hospodářské noviny.

The journalist also spoke to one of the Czech activists who went there and was in contact with the people demonstrating there. “He told me that the police had double-fenced the village and it was basically impossible to get inside,” Brož explains. It is also unclear how many people were in the settlement, according to him. “It may also be their tactic not to make it easy for the police,” he adds.

The demonstrators retreated to the nearby forest, where they built a house among the trees. At the same time, a campsite was set up nearby where others landed. Swedish activist Greta Thunberg also announced her arrival.

Coal return?

The German government explains the need for lignite coal with the energy crisis caused by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. But according to protesters, the geopolitical situation only serves as an excuse for concessions to the coal industry.

According to Brož, however, such an argument from the Olaf Scholz cabinet is appropriate at the moment. “The question is how long will it take,” says the journalist. “I assume that Germany will also need coal-fired electricity this year, because in March it will shut down its last three nuclear power plants, which still supply about seven percent of electricity generation,” he explains.

Photo: Lenka Kabrhelova, Seznam Zpravy

Jan Brož, editor of Hospodářské noviny.

How quickly the Germans will manage to build terminals for liquefied gas to be transported from countries like the United States or Qatar will also be decisive in the coming years.

According to Brož, however, the current crisis will hardly change the long-term direction of German policy, which envisions a coal-free and nuclear-free future. “I see it as a time-limited pun. But in the longer run, say in ten years, Germany will go even further.”

On the 5:59 podcast, you’ll also learn what a similar buyout of municipalities due to mining in Germany has looked like in the past, or how the energy crisis could affect the general debate about renewable energies in Europe. Listen to the audio at the beginning of the article.

Editor and Associate Editor: Matěj Válek, Dominika Kubištová

Sound design and music: Martin Still

Sources of sound samples: ČT24, Český rozhlas Radiožurnál, CNN Prima NEWS, BBC News, YouTube – DW Deutsch, YT – WELT, YT – Der Spiegel, YT – ARD Mittagsmagazin, YT – Kölle for Future, Twitter – RaphaelThele, TW – julius__boehm

Broadcast 5:59

News podcast of Lenka Kabrhelova’s team. It’s an important topic every weekday in the sixth minute. Through the lens of Seznam Zpráv, the most important events in the Czech Republic, the world, politics, economy, sports and culture.

You can find an archive of all episodes on our website. Write us your observations, comments or tips via social networks or by e-mail: zaminutusest@sz.cz.

Source: Seznam Zpravy

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