Greta Thunberg slams German Greens and labels Germany one of world’s biggest polluters over coal mine battle in Lützerath

Swedish climate campaigner Greta Thunberg speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Erkelenz, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
By Thomas Brooke
5 Min Read

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has slammed Germany’s left-wing government, accusing the Green party of “really embarrassing itself” by sanctioning a new coal-lignite mine in the latest sign of progressives attacking one another in pursuit of a wildly unrealistic environmental policy.

“Disappointed is one way of putting it. I think it’s very weird to see the German government, including the Green Party, make deals and compromise with companies like RWE, with fossil fuel companies, when they should rather be held accountable for all the damage and destruction they have caused,” she said in response to the left-wing’s government with German energy multinational RWE to excavate the area near the village of Lützerath.

[pp id=62083]

The ongoing drama in the village, which has been cleared of thousands of protesters to make way for a lignite mine, has seen climate change activists turn on each other. Protesters — who had been illegally occupying the disused village and were forcibly removed by police last week — blamed the German Greens for making a backroom deal with RWE despite promises to fight climate change.

The protesters’ cult hero, Greta Thunberg, arrived in Lützerath for the second time over the weekend to offer solidarity with the illegal squatters, who have continued to ignore a court-mandated eviction order. They are crying foul play against police, while authorities argue they have little choice but to clear the protesters.

Thunberg, herself, was eventually carried off the site by two police officers on Sunday, according to German tabloid, Bild.

The Swedish activist, however, appears to have used the vast majority of her visit to Germany to criticize the country’s government — which includes the German Greens in its coalition — for failing to act at her behest.

During an interview on the Anne Will program on Sunday, the Swedish climate campaigner called Germany “historically one of the biggest polluters in the world,” and accused the current federal government of doing little to address this unwanted title.

Green voters in Germany are finding it difficult to stomach that it was primarily Green politicians who reached the agreement with RWE to raze the village of Lützerath to aid the energy company’s expansion of the Garzweiler coal mine. Mona Neubaur, Green vice premier of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), and Robert Habeck, Germany’s economy and climate minister, were perhaps the two most influential Green politicians behind the deal.

[pp id=14435]

When asked about the deal, Thunberg told the program: “It’s not my role as an activist to watch compromises between governments and very destructive corporations,” before proceeding to make it her role by accusing the deal of “endangering the lives of countless people.”

She continued to call the discussions between prominent Green politicians and RWE “very hypocritical,” and dismissed Habeck’s claim that Lützerath would be the “last village” to give way for lignite in Germany, asking: “How can (Lützerath) be a symbol of the end if they plan to move on, to move on with this?”

Environmental activists have campaigned across Germany for years in favor of cleaner energy production; however, leaders are currently finding a need to revert back to coal given the energy fall-out from the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and Green party politicians have also accepted the reality of the current energy situation.

[pp id=8373]

Since campaigning to phase out nuclear energy in Germany, climate activists will be horrified to see the rise in coal mining, a far more harmful form of production for the environment than the former. And with coal constituting a staggering 31 percent of German electricity production, compared to 8 percent recorded in 2015, eco-warriors only have themselves to blame, writes Wolfgang Munchau of Eurointelligence.

Thunberg’s criticism of Green politicians in Germany’s federal government is reflective of the way many Greens voters are feeling about their elected representatives.

“I voted the Greens and I will never, ever do [so again],” said David Dresen, from the neighboring village of Kuckum as cited by news outlet Politico.

“It’s a gut punch that Green ministers now try to sell this backroom coal deal as a success. We won’t accept that,” added Olaf Bandt, the chair of the German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation.

Share This Article