Extinction Rebellion occupies lignite industry lobby offices in Berlin
Clean Energy Wire / Tagesspiegel
Activists of the environmental action group Extinction Rebellion (XR) occupied the headquarters of Germany's lignite mining industry association, DEBRIV, in Berlin in a bid to direct public attention at the "climate pollution lobby", the group said in a press release. The roughly 300 activists also blocked the road in front of the building in the centre of Germany's capital on Tuesday and threw documents out of the windows, newspaper Tagesspiegel reports. The activists said the industry association's lobbying for coal "is currently leading to an irreversible destruction of our livelihood" and "preserving it should be the prerequisite of all political action". The influence of lobby groups should therefore be made more transparent and curtailed, XR said.
The DEBRIV coal industry association reacted to the occupation by expressing its "profound incomprehension", arguing that there already is a "societal consensus" backed by environmental groups in Germany that will see the end of lignite-fired power production by 2038 at the very latest. DEBRIV said the coal phase-out decision had been made transparently and would provide legal security for everyone involved. The "illegal" occupation of its premises therefore must be "flatly condemned", the association said.
The environmental activists, which critics have accused of taking a too radical stance in their calls for climate action, had announced a series of similar events for the week, and already protested in front of Germany's economy ministry and the transport ministry. Mirroring the criticism of other environmental groups of Germany's coal exit, XR said the law regulating the phase-out lacked transparency and was too generous to coal companies, by allowing them to continue operating plants longer than what was compatible with climate targets, and granting high compensation payments for plant closures.