Greta Thunberg among thousands protesting against Garzweiler carbon bomb in Lützerath, Germany

Lützerath, Germany – Today, thousands of concerned citizens from diverse countries, including climate activist Greta Thunberg, have travelled to the small German village of Lützerath in solidarity with climate activists who are currently trying to stop this area being demolished to access the coal in the ground underneath it. Activists who have been occupying this village for two years to prevent its destruction are now in the process of being evicted.  German multinational fossil fuel company RWE has bought the area in order to expand its lignite coal mine, Garzweiler, one of the biggest carbon bombs in Europe.

Karsten Smid, energy expert for Greenpeace Germany, said: “Today in Lützerath, people are rising together for a better future, and are showing massive support for the activists who have been protesting against coal mining for years. Lützerath is the limit: if the coal underneath is dug out, Germany won’t be able to respect the Paris agreement. RWE’s greed cannot stand higher than protection of people and climate. It is time to stop the destruction of Lützerath. This coal has to stay in the ground.”

Sara Ayech, Global Campaign Lead for Climate at Greenpeace International, added: “We’re in 2023, in the middle of a climate crisis, and while destroying a village to expand one of the biggest carbon bombs in Europe should be considered criminal, it is still legal. Fossil fuel companies’ influence is so powerful that the ones considered criminals now are the ones fighting for climate justice. It is time to hold fossil fuel companies accountable.” 

Underneath the small village of Lützerath lies lignite coal, the most climate-damaging energy source and the Rhenish lignite mining area is the largest source of CO2 in Europe. But driven by its greed and despite the climate crisis, the fossil fuel company RWE plans to destroy the village in order to expand its Garzweiler mine and extract the coal.

This project, just as fossil fuel extraction and new infrastructures everywhere, is linked to the destruction of people’s lives, of the climate and of the planet. And in the end, this is having the worst impact on people in countries which have contributed the least to the climate crisis. 

This coal is the opposite of what’s needed to answer the climate, energy and cost of living crisis. Building renewables together with energy saving measures is cheaper, quicker and will bring energy security. It is time to accelerate a just transition towards affordable, clean, renewable energy in a way that benefits communities, workers and the climate, and to end new fossil fuel infrastructures.

Hundreds of activists have been resisting fossil fuel destruction and occupying what remains of the Lützerath village for more than two years. They have built tree houses, huts and solar plants, revitalised the village and shown us all that a society built on climate-justice and solidarity is possible.

What’s at stake here is not only Germany not respecting the Paris Agreement, but also fossil fuel companies destroying our future for short-term profit. Lützerath is a vivid example of the crimes fossil fuel companies are committing everywhere on the planet. Fossil fuel companies have been polluting and destroying people’s lives since the very beginning of their existence. And they have been getting away with it for too long. We won’t let them continue, not in Germany and not anywhere else.


Photos and Videos can be accessed from the Greenpeace Media Library.


Greenpeace Germany is part of a broad alliance of environmental organisations, climate groups and local initiatives fighting to save Lützerath, including Alle Dörfer bleiben, BUND, Campact, Fridays for Future, Klima-Allianz Deutschland, Lützerath Lebt, and NAJU NRW.

The coalition Greenpeace is part of demands:

  • To stop the destruction of Lützerath.
  • The coal under Lützerath must stay in the ground. Whether or not Germany makes its fair contribution to the Paris Climate Agreement will be decided in Lützerath.
  • A nationwide coal phase-out that is compatible with Germany’s climate protection commitments – both in the Rhineland and in eastern Germany.


Greenpeace Germany | Sonka Terfehr, press officer (on site): [email protected], +49 175 5891718, +49 40 30618374

Greenpeace Fossil Free Revolution campaign | Manon Laudy, press officer: [email protected], +33 649156983

Lützerath lebt: [email protected] / +49 1575 3980 277

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