1,5° are not negotiable

There are many surveys around the open pit mine Garzweiler, sometimes they are concealed for a year or so, but that‘s another story… Now there is a new survey, conducted by scientists of the German Institute for Economic Research, which is positive in two respects:

1. It refers to the 1,5°-aim (contrary to previous surveys), which for us poses the threshhold that mustn‘t be passed.

2. it includes Lützerath and points out that Lützerath – when adhering to the 1,5°-aim – doesn‘t need to be destroyed.

The survey first takes into account the remaining amount of CO2 that are possible within a 1,5°-path, how they are to distributed among industries and finds that between the mines Hambach and Garzweiler a maximum of 200 mio. tons of CO2 shall be produced to fulfill the 1,5°-aim with a 50% chance. Using a 1:5 slope for the mine‘s edge and saving all six villages at the Garzweiler mine, there would be 230 mio tons of lignite in the ground.

RWE however plans to dig up and burn 780 mio tons of lignite, 4 times the amount deemed possible by the survey, 6 times as much when refereíng to Garzweiler alone.

In the following the survey refers to the changing framework. It mentions rising CO2-pricing, low gas costs, decreased consumptiong during the COVID19 pandemic and an already decreasing operating grade of the power stations. Furthermore the likely decrease of economic value of lignite in general is discussed.

Finally an alternative exit plan adjusted to the 1.5°-aim is proposed, according to which the most inefficient stations should be terminated by the end of 2022, the intermediate ones would continue with decreased capacity till 2026 and the most efficienr power stations would go off the grid by the end of 2028.

I’ve read the complete survey and will reflect it in the folowing regarding what we, as “Lützerath Lebt”, want to represent.

Even though the survey is a big step forward, the proposed path doesn‘t appear to be the ideal solution yet. There are several reasons for that:

1. The plan explicitly states that „greater responsibilities through higher historical emissions“ would be dismissed. This means, that it would still be accepted that other (often less privileged) countries would have to take over the damage done by us.

This -to us- opposes the principle of equity and is one more facet of the denial to take over historical responsibilities as is – unfortunately – all too common.

2. The proposed path uses a 50% chance. This is too little!

1,5° is our non-negotiable limit. With a 50% chance, 1,5° may be, but just as well may not. It is the traditional throw of a coin.

To us a more ambitious approach is necessary. It needs to be ensured, that the average increase doesn‘t exceed 1,5°. That it – if possible – stays way below that as we can already see drastic results nowadays. We stand up for an immediate departure from coal. We have to keep it in the ground.

Link to survey (german).