Pro- and anti-coal protesters besiege German coal exit commission visiting mining district
Hundreds of coal workers in the eastern German region Lusatia welcomed the country’s coal exit commission during a trip to the region with protest banners saying, “good jobs are being trampled on,” Michael Bauchmüller writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The region south of Berlin used to employ over 80,000 people in coal mining during the industry’s high times in the former communist East Germany, but today their number has fallen to a mere 8,000 who fear that the end of coal-fired power production will sound the economic death knell for the otherwise laggard region, Bauchmüller says.
Anti-coal protesters gathered in front of Germany’s economy ministry in Berlin on Friday, where the commission met after its trip to Lusatia. The protesters called for phasing out coal by 2030 and for saving the Hambach Forest, which over the last weeks had become a symbol for climate activists who protested the clearing of trees to make way for mining.
The commission released a press statement after the trip stating, “everyone in the commission knows that the concerns of people [in Lusatia and other coal regions] and their families have to take centre stage if the sustainable transition of our energy supply is to be successful.”
The commission plans to publish its first list of recommendations for future economic development in Germany’s coal regions by the end of October.
Find the article in German here.
For background, see the CLEW article Special deals for mining areas to ease coal exit – task force draft, which will be updated throughout the day.