Coal fired power plants are a danger to people and the environment

The use of coal is the most environmentally harmful form of energy generation and contributes significantly to climate change. Coal emissions are harmful to health, cause illness and lead to premature death. Based on German air pollution limits and the timetable for coal exit, emissions from German power plants are expected to lead to 26,000 attributable deaths between 2022 and 2038.

And yet the Top 10 list of Europe’s biggest CO2 polluters includes seven lignite-fired power plants from Germany – in North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg and Saxony: Neurath, Niederaussem, Jänschwalde, Weisweiler, Schwarze Pumpe, Lippendorf and Boxberg. It is due to these carbon dioxide spinners that Germany is by far the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the EU.

The German “coal exit law”, which allows power plant operation until 2038, is absolutely unsustainable. Belgium is already coal-free today, Sweden will phase out coal in 2021, Italy, Great Britain and Austria by 2025 at the latest and even Greece wants to implement the coal exit 10 years ahead of Germany.

We must stop burning fossil fuels – as soon as possible and everywhere as possible

But German politics, the energy lobby and corporations are more concerned about short-term election results and profits than about climate protection. Lignite mining has destroyed entire areas, settlements and villages in Germany. More than 100,000 people lost their homes and had to be resettled!

And what for? For supposedly cheap coal electricity, which destroys our environment and ruined health. This is absurd and irresponsible. This is why Protect the Planet is committed to an early exit from coal, such as with the support of the Munich citizens’ petition “Stop the Munich coal-fired power plant!”


Stop the Munich coal-fired power plant!

The HKW Nord coal-fired power plant causes more CO2 emissions every year than all cars and trucks in Munich combined and should remain in operation until 2035. The power plant burns 800,000 tons of hard coal annually, releasing toxic emissions including mercury. In addition, 40 % of the imported coal is shipped from the Czech Republic and 60 % from North America and Russia.

Protect the Planet has intensively supported the citizens’ petition “Get out of coal” on many levels as to insure an earlier shutdown of the coal-fired power plant. While using the structures of our network a considerable number of additional supporters and fellow combatants could be won.

The efforts were great, the joy after the magnificent election results even greater. But the struggle is not over. Because the City Council of Munich has decided to keep the power plant running until at least 2026, but to shut it down well before 2028. This undermines the unequivocal citizen’s decision by the politicians.

  • More than 50,000 signatures were collected for the citizens’ petition “Get out of the hard coal.

  • On 5 November 2017, the citizens of Munich voted for an earlier shutdown of the coal-fired power plant.

  • A majority of 60.2 percent of the voters were in favor of a premature coal phase-out by 2022.

  • In some city districts, the initiative even reached more than 70 percent.

  • In the current Green-Red Government coalition agreement, however, the coal phase-out is only envisaged once a new gas-fired power plant has been built for which no building permit has yet been issued and which, according to studies by TÜV and the Öko-Institut in Freiburg, is not required for security of supply.

  • Together with partners in the “Exit Spirit Energy” alliance, Protect the Planet is working to ensure that Stadtwerke München (SWM) gets out of fossil fuels as quickly as possible.