„Now is the time to turn rage into action. Every fraction of a degree matters.“ António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, at the presention of the climate report of the UN 2022
In the fall of 2022, the state government of North-Rhine Westfalia in Germany will face a decision: Will they allow the coal corporation RWE to destroy the village of Lützerath for the expansion of a coal mine, or is the government serious about climate protection? With this statement, we, the signees, announce our intention to be in Lützerath and stand in the way of destruction, should the government want to evict and demolish Lützerath.
The facts are clear. If we don‘t change direction now, all efforts to meet the 1.5°C limit and thus contain the effects of the climate catastrophe are doomed to failure. For decades, scientists, affected communities and activists have demanded to leave coal, oil and gas in the ground without delay. We must transform our economic system to enable the survival of millions of people and a just society.
Global heating is leading to more and more severe extreme weather - currently including a dramatic heat wave in India, a devastating drought in eastern Kenya, and over 40 degrees increased average temperatures in Antarctica. Due to rapid global heating, we are in the midst of a sixth mass extinction of animal and plant species. Climate activist Vanessa Nakate from Uganda reminds us that the current 1.2 degrees of global heating is "hell" for many people and communities in the Global South. These communities have contributed the least to the climate crisis, and at the same time have been fighting the global injustice that has created it the longest. We stand with them.
Germany's responsibility in Lützerath is obvious. The coalfields in the Rhineland are Europe's biggest source of CO2. RWE plans to mine and burn several hundred million tons between Aachen, Cologne and Düsseldorf. These quantities are not compatible with the 1.5°C limit. Under Lützerath the coal layer is particularly thick, which is why the preservation of the village leads to a particularly large saving of CO2. No other measure can save CO2 as quickly and as easily.
We must seize this opportunity. The government in North Rhine-Westphalia has the opportunity to respond to the findings of science, the demands of those affected by climate change and the needs of future generations – and finally follow its words up with action. Instead, the conservative CDU and the Green Party are trying to play down Lützerath as a nice but ultimately irrelevant 'symbol' in order to build their coalition and not to upset the coal company RWE. Their calculation is that in the end we will not be that many and not that determined. They‘re speculating that an eviction of Lützerath will be over and forgotten quickly.
But they‘re making a big mistake. For many years, residents subject to forced resettlements, climate activists, farmers, grandparents, people of faith, artists and celebrities have protested with many thousands of people for all villages to remain. Thanks to this commitment, several villages in the Rhineland have already been saved - and we are determined to save Lützerath as well.
Four years ago, tens of thousands of people in tree houses, in courts and on the streets fought to preserve the Hambach Forest. Together, we ensured that 1.1 billion tons of coal remained in the ground. Even during the three-week eviction - the illegal and largest police operation in the history of North Rhine-Westphalia - the RWE boss claimed that preserving the forest was an 'illusion'. Our mass protests, the solidarity-based diversity of our actions and our determination turned this 'illusion' into reality. We have made clear that the real illusion is not the preservation of our livelihoods, but the fossil-fuel, profit-oriented social order. We take this experience with us to Lützerath and share it with all those who are committed to climate justice: Another world is possible!
The time of waiting is over. The time of empty words is over. The time for action has come. With this declaration, we join together with X-thousands of people to preserve Lützerath and protect the climate. If the state government in North-Rhine Westfalia wants to destroy Lützerath for coal mining, we will not accept it. The coal under Lützerath must stay in the ground.
Unfortunately we can't provide the form in english, so here is the translation of what you would agree to:First name (Vorname)
Optional: I agree that my first name and the 1st letter of my surname, my function/organization (if indicated) as well as my postal code (for indication of place of residence) will be transmitted to „X-Tausend für Lützerath“ and published on the campaign page x-tausend.de. I can revoke this consent at any time in the future.
I agree that the signing of this petition as well as my e-mail address, name and location will be stored for the implementation of the petition until its end. My first name, the first letter of my last name and my place of residence can be viewed by petition starters and handed over to the recipient of the petition. To verify my data, I will receive a corresponding e-mail with further information. This consent can be revoked at any time.
If the state government wants to clear and demolish Lützerath, I will be there to stand in the way of the destruction.
Lützerath is the last village to be mined for coal in the Rhenish coalfield in Germany. The edge of the Garzweiler open cast lignite mine is less than 200 meters from houses of Lützerath. The coal corporation RWE plans to clear and demolish Lützerath this autumn/winter. Preserving Lützerath and leaving the coal in the ground beneath the village is one of the most effective climate protection measures Germany can currently take.
In recent years, Lützerath has become a focal point for the climate justice movement. Hundreds of climate activists have revived Lützerath, built tree houses and wooden huts there, and made the village their home. Again and again, several thousand people have gathered in the village for demonstrations, festivals and conferences. Actually, RWE wanted to destroy it long ago, but social pressure and legal proceedings have prevented this so far - now we want to save the village permanently.
On 01 September 2022, the buildings and land of farmer Eckardt Heukamp will officially belong to RWE. It can be assumed that RWE wants to clear and demolish Lützerath this autumn. Similar to the struggle in the Hambach Forst, this can only be done with a politically risky large-scale police operation. X-thousands of people will protest on the streets, on trees and in local houses for the protection of the climate and the preservation of the village and will stand in the way of the destruction.
A particularly thick layer of lignite lies beneath Lützerath. Burning it massively harms our global climate.
Alle Dörfer Bleiben
Current planning status of Garzweiler open pit mine:
🟤= current excavator progress
⚫️= saved by NRW government in 2016
🟢= saved by NRW exploratory paper
⚠️ Everything else @CDUNRW_de & @gruenenrw still want to mine [The redder the areas, the more coal].
RWE plans to extract more than 600 million tons of coal from the Garzweiler open pit mine. Since one ton of lignite releases about one ton of CO2 when burned, the climate impact of these RWE plans is roughly equivalent to that of 150 million flights from Frankfurt to New York. These plans are not compatible with the Paris Climate Agreement. A study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) shows that only 70 million metric tons of coal can be extracted from the Garzweiler open pit mine from January 1, 2021 in order to comply with the 1.5° limit. Although these reduced quantities also contribute to the worsening of the climate crisis, the study clearly shows: The red line for the climate runs in front of Lützerath!
Destroying or preserving villages is a question of political will. If in former times the demolition of the villages Holzweiler, Keyenberg, Berverath, Kuckum, Oberwestrich and Unterwestrich was considered a foregone conclusion and a necessity without any alternative, today it is clear that these villages will remain due to the pressure of affected residents and climate activists. Lützerath can also be preserved if it is politically desired.
In a so-called „lead decision“ (Leitentscheidung), the NRW state government can define the spatial boundaries of the open pit mine. In 2016, for example, it removed the village of Holzweiler at the Garzweiler open pit mine from RWE's mining plans and, in 2021, the village of Morschenich and the Hambach Forest at the Hambach open pit mine. The government can now do the same for Lützerath. By imposing a moratorium on demolition until the publication of this lead decision, it can ensure that RWE does not create any facts that run counter to the new policy.
In addition, the main operating plan for the Garzweiler open pit mine expires on December 31, 2022. RWE must apply for a new main operating plan to continue coal mining. The state government could stipulate that main operating plans involving the destruction of buildings, infrastructure or trees will no longer be approved. By imposing a moratorium on the demolition, the state government can preserve Lützerath until Jan. 1, 2023, and permanently preserve Lützerath by adjusting the conditions of approval for the main operating plan.
The Campaign X-tausend für Lützerath was initiated by Alle Dörfer Bleiben, Lützerath Lebt and Fridays For Future. Over fifty people from different organizations and groups were involved in its development. A list of all supporters can be found here.
A petition is addressed to political decision-makers. Petitions can be important tools in political change processes and show how many people are behind a particular demand. With this petition, for example, over a hundred thousand people are speaking out for the preservation of all villages in Germany that are threatened by coal mining.
With this declaration of intent however, we are not asking others to do something, but announcing that we will do something ourselves. In doing so, we are sending an encouraging signal to all climate activists who see: We are X-thousands who will preserve Lützerath! And we‘re making clear to politicians that they can expect massive protests if they want to evict and demolish Lützerath.
To ensure the greatest possible technical and data protection security, WeAct supports us in the implementation of our campaign by providing the form for signing the declaration of intent and managing the data provided in a GDPR-compliant manner. WeAct is the petition platform of Campact – a campaigning network and NGO with over 2.3 million people campaigning for progressive policies. Via WeAct, more than 100,000 people have already spoken out for the preservation of all villages in Germany threatened by coal mining in a petition by Alle Dörfer Bleiben.
Our movement depends on many people joining in. There are many different ways to do this: You can join a climate group in your city, travel to Lützerath and become active on site, mobilize more signees for the declaration of intent, and much more. To get involved with X-Tausend für Lützerath, please send us an email to kontakt@X-Tausend.de.