An unexpected High Court ruling in the German state of North Rhein Westphalia (NRW) has blocked energy giant RWE from further destruction of the Hambacher Forest for the next couple of years. The decision has been hailed as a major victory by the newly-revitalised German environmental and climate justice movement.
The struggle to defend a 200-hectare forest has sparked Germany’s biggest environmental protests for at least a decade.
The Hambacher Forest (aka “Hambi”) is the last remaining corner of a much larger area of woodland that has been eaten up by a huge open-cut lignite mine, owned by European energy giant RWE.
Lignite is the dirtiest form of coal in terms of pollution. The lignite-fired power stations around the mine form the biggest sources of airborne pollution in the European Union.