A 700-year-old German village is slated for destruction to make way for the expansion of a nearby coal mine. The AP reports:
Atterwasch, a village that survived the Thirty Years’ War, a Soviet onslaught at the end of World War II and four hard decades of communist rule is slated to be razed. The village, with its volunteer fire station and old brownstone church, is to make way for a strip mine in the next decade. Dozens of other villages have fallen victim to the same fate, as coal once again becomes king.
This can hardly be considered a green success story, and yet Germany’s coal renaissance has come about entirely because of the country’s vaunted and supposedly environmentally friendly Energiewende. That transition has boosted solar and wind energy (and jacked up electricity bills in the process), but it has also phased out Germany’s nuclear reactors. That knee-jerk decision was made in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster as concerns over nuclear energy’s safety spiked, despite the fact that Germany’s reactors, unlike Japan’s, aren’t susceptible to major earthquakes, tsunamis, or volcanoes.But Berlin pushed ahead with its nuclear drawdown anyway, depriving its energy mix of a major source of zero-emissions baseload electricity—the kind of power one might need when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. Now, to replace those shuttered reactors, Germany is burning up record amounts of lignite coal, one of the dirtiest fossil fuels around, and is destroying villages to mine it.