Hambach Forest and coal phaseout must be secured – NRW state premier
Clean Energy Wire
In a joint statement, North-Rhine Westphalia's (NRW) state premier Armin Laschet, environmental groups and unions called for the German climate cabinet to submit a draft of a coal phaseout law to parliament by the end of October, including a timetable for the shutdown of coal-fired power plants and assurance that the embattled Hambach Forest near RWE's lignite mine would be preserved. In a lively parliamentary debate on the state government's role in the conflict over the clearing of protest camps in the forest in 2018, Laschet reiterated that "we want a clear statement that the forest will remain untouched”. The state premier, Greenpeace, Environmental Action Germany (BUND), mining sector trade union IGBCE, service sector trade union Verdi and others also called on the federal government to create conditions to ensure that the target of a 65 percent share of renewable energy in Germany by 2030 is "safely achieved".
The Hambach Forest has become a climate action symbol for activists who want to prevent the forest’s clearing for coal mine expansion. A court ruling halted the clearing in 2018 and in February RWE agreed to abstain from clearing the forest until the autumn of 2020. The German government's coal commission has recommended to preserve the forest.