German Coal Mines

During the last 3 centuries, coal has always had an important role when we talk about electrical energy. Not only used as the main source of energy in a lot of countries, specially for heating, it was the most important and the first source of energy to the Industry Revolution that happened in the UK, and after some time, expanded to the world. Even though all of the possibilities we have with this material, it is also one of the most polluting fuel fossils on earth. That’s because when coal is burnt, it produces a huge amount of greenhouse gas which helps the climate change and global warming. Also, coal mines directly impact the soil and water from rivers next to it, mostly because of wrong disposal of unused material.

When we talk about Germany’s energy, we realize that 40% of it is from coal mines production. That material has been really important to Germany the last 2 centuries, used not only to help the industries, but specially for heating. This use of coal as the main energy source from the country and its impact on sustainability, turned Germany the country that most pollutes the air, according to DW news in 2016. 

Trying to change this scene and also help the environment and sustainability, Germany decided to change its main source of energy and stop the production of coal in coal mines until 2038, as you can also read in DW news from 2019. This decision represented an investment in renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind energy, which, unfortunately, weren’t enough for German consumption. To help solve this problem, Germany starts buying natural gas from Russia. Germany expected to reserve a huge amount of money for this energy transition phase, according to Reuters news. 

During the Ukraine and Russia war, that is still happening, Germany decides to take the side of Ukraine and supports it, which makes Russia cut the natural gas off. This important decision, and also consequences, forced Germany to restart coal production and mines that had already been closed. The expansion of coal mines destroyed a lot of cities and villages and caused not only a sustainable problem, but also a social problem. Many villages manifested, especially Lützerath, where they also received Greta Thunberg, a famous swedish environmental activist, to protest for the coal to stay in the ground, where it is placed and also to make all the villages stay: “Alle Dörfer bleiben”. Even though this manifest caused attention from a lot of parts of the world, some villages are being destroyed by coal mines production and the greenhouse gas emissions from coal keep being a problem to climate change.