Climate Minister Robert Habeck announces the earlier end for lignite. But for that a whole village has to die. In Lützerath, climate activists are now preparing for battle. The Greens are losing the part that once made them great.

In Flensburg, climate activists have now barricaded Robert Habeck’s constituency office. They sealed the front door with their yellow cross, reminiscent of a roadblock.

“It will be similar to the Hambach Forest,” says Christopher Laumanns, who speaks for the anti-lignite initiative “All Villages Remain”. In the end, the Hambach Forest was the battle that the North Rhine-Westphalian state government, together with the energy giant RWE, lost against the climate protection movement four years ago. Their radical part stayed in trees for weeks and threw excrement at police officers from there, according to NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul. Is the bambule repeating itself now?

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What used to be the rhetorically skilful “Hambi” trivialized and humanized forest is now becoming the Lower Rhine village of Lützerath. “Stand with Lützi!” is the battle cry that is currently trending on Twitter. Times have changed since the Hambach Forest, especially for the Greens.

When the battle for the Hambacher trees raged on the edge of the Garzweiler 2 lignite mine, the Greens were in opposition. Now that “Lützi” is at stake, the Greens are in government. Two Green climate ministers negotiated the compromise, to which the village of Lützerath will now fall victim: Mona Neubaur from Düsseldorf and Robert Habeck from Berlin.

This compromise envisages phasing out brown coal, which is harmful to the climate, eight years earlier, in 2030, but coal-fired power plants that should be shut down should continue to run. And the coal for it should come from Lützerath.

Blame for the dilemma between climate protection and security of supply lies with Vladimir Putin, who started a war in Ukraine and expanded it into an energy conflict with Europe. However, one looks in vain for a reference to Putin in the outraged comments of the climate protectors.

What you also don’t find with them is another fact: last Sunday the last inhabitant of Lützerath moved away, the farmer Eckard Heukamp. Nobody lives in Lützerath anymore. Those who once lived here have now found a new home, generously compensated by RWE. The fact that no one lives here anymore does not mean that the spot on the edge of the gigantic coal mine is empty: opponents of coal have “moved in”. They want to defy the expected eviction.

When Robert Habeck announced the agreement between the Berlin traffic light, the Düsseldorf black-green coalition and the company RWE, he tried a new discipline even for him, the famous communicator – whistling in the woods. It then sounded like this:

“Today is a good day for climate protection (…) I hope that the climate and environmental movement will see it that way and that it will be largely accepted in the end. Those who are activists for climate protection deserve a lot of recognition and thanks.”

However, the climate activists from Fridays for Future do not want to be thanked at all. “You can put your thanks somewhere else,” they answered belligerently from Frankfurt to the top green in Berlin.

The German umbrella organization of FfF canceled the friendship with the Greens as follows: “Today the Greens finally said goodbye to 1.5C. The demolition of Lützerath is unnecessary and will further exacerbate the global suffering of the climate crisis.” Luisa Neubauer, the German face of Fridays for Future, railed against RWE – “Germany’s most anti-climate group” – that the Greens had “collapsed in front of RWE”.

And then the green movement’s blatant challenge to the green ministers: “The climate justice movement will make the eviction a disaster.” After the “betrayal” of the Greens, only the “social movement” can help, says “Leave the church in the village”, a Christian climate initiative .

The “Parents For Future”, in which the climate activists 40 plus gather, come to Neubaur and Habeck with numbers. The Greens had calculated that the earlier exit would save around 280 million tons of CO2. On the other hand, the climate gray sleepers: “Bad news: At the same time you allowed RWE to excavate another 290 million tons of coal.” That is “finally the departure from 1.5C” – the internationally agreed climate target.

In the concert of the climate movement, which is well networked nationally and internationally – the first addresses of solidarity are already coming from Austria – the anti-capitalist Green Youth plays, as so often, with: “Profit interests of corporations must not be placed above the well-being of the people.” And “Extinction Rebellion “, who like to have it a little more radical, rant towards Neubaur and Habeck: “That’s a scandal!”

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All sorts of things are brewing for the Greens. “Today is a good day to leave the Greens,” says the “NRW Climate List”. A “short study” in which scientists from the German Institute for Economic Research DIW were also involved is being passed around up and down on social networks. Their core sentence:

“Using Lützerath is not necessary in terms of energy and cannot be justified in terms of climate policy.” From this, the Greens are accused of being anti-scientific. The intellectually questionable construction is reminiscent of Greta Thunberg’s battle cry: “Follow the science”.

The call for participation “x-tausend-lü” is now circulating online: “If the state government wants to clear and demolish Lützerath, I will be there and stand in the way of the destruction.” Around 10,000 people willing to block the call have just received the call signed, which is supported by 28 climate initiatives across Germany, also from Lüchow Dannenberg.

There, in Wendland in Lower Saxony, the anti-nuclear movement against the transport of radioactive waste to the Gorleben nuclear waste storage facility was formed almost 50 (!) years ago. It marked the birth of the Greens, first as a social movement and later as a political party. The Greens have evolved, the protest has remained. He’s just gotten younger. And he’s looking for a new goal.

From the activists’ point of view, the Greens are now the “establishment” – bourgeois and compromisingly linked to the hated industry. They themselves see themselves as in possession of the truth and committed to saving the planet, which justifies their resistance to state authority.

The Greens are faring with the climate activists today like the “magician’s apprentice” in Goethe’s ballad 225 years ago. He tried out his master’s magic formula and now he can’t get rid of the cursed spell:

“Lord, the need is great!

I summoned the spirits

I can’t get rid of it now.”

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