Essen, 13.01.2022: since 7 AM in the morning, 20 activists from Extinction Rebellion and 7 scientists from Scientist Rebellion have been blocking the headquarters of the German energy company RWE in Essen. 3 activists chained themselves to the gate. Their demand: a moratorium on the village of Lützerath, which is to be sacrificed to expand the open-cast lignite mine Garzweiler II. The destruction of Lützerath is symbolic of the ignoring of scientific findings by political decision-makers.

This action comes shortly after the open letter published by Scientist Rebellion condemning the expansion of the mine, which gathered one thousand signatures in just 3 days. The letter states that the eviction and destruction of the village of Lützerath must be stopped immediately and that civil disobedience is legitimate and necessary to defend Lützerath. Among the signees are many professors and authors of IPCC reports, including prof. Wolfgang Cramer and prof. Julia Steinberger.

Today’s action shows scientists’ resolution to put these words into action. This action does not come alone: Scientists were inside Lützerath during the eviction and yesterday scientists were part of an action that trespassed the legal route of the demonstration for Keyenberg to block the eviction of Lützerath.

At the moment, 280 million tons of CO2 are buried in the ground in Lützerath in the form of lignite. As the open letter states, “[…] the “Expert Council for Climate Issues”, whose members were appointed by the German government, notes that there is a “very large gap” to the tightened targets of the Climate Protection Act, whose allowed residual emissions amount to at least 2 degrees of global warming (and only if it were adhered to).”

This means that even if physically still possible, the German Government already chose no socially and politically plausible way to stay below the 1.5-degree limit agreed upon under international law in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Prof. Dr. Barbara Schramkowski, professor of Social Work, says: “recent studies, conducted by the German Institute for Economic Research and Aurora Energy Research, already concluded that there is no need for the extraction of Lützerath coal. There are no evidence-based policies justifying this decision. The Government is taking the side of fossil fuel industries at the expense of people’s safety and social justice”.

“The destruction of Lützerath, i.e. the destruction of the homeland of people and fertile soil for profit, is not only completely out of time, it also shows how much politics hand in hand with RWE disrespects our future,” says Dr. Nana-Maria Grüning, Molecular Biologist