Defense of the evacuation of Lützerath: green unity is crumbling

The Green Party defends the eviction of Lützerath. But the pictures of the police operation are having an effect – and things are brewing behind the scenes.

A man hangs from a rope over the heads of the police

Tightrope walking for the Greens: eviction in Lützerath Photo: Michael Probst/ap

BERLIN taz | The Greens parliamentary group leader cannot avoid Lützerath on Thursday. At noon, the parliamentary group board meets for a retreat in Berlin-Dahlem. It should be about an outlook for the year and about climate protection in the transport sector – an area in which FDP Transport Minister Volker Wissing is currently failing. When the leaders of the parliamentary group appear before the press before the start of the retreat, one question naturally dominates again: Go because of the evacuation of Lützerathwho are responsible for the Greens, a rift through the party?

Group leader Katharina Dröge defends her own decisions again. “It hurts that the Lützerath settlement has to be downsized,” she says. but that in return, RWE will exit coal in 2030 instead of 2038, make them proud. “We are united on the question that it was necessary and right to bring forward the phase-out of coal,” said Dröge.

Economics Minister Robert Habeck, who agreed to the eviction in a compromise with RWE and is a guest in Dahlem, sounds similar: “I have sympathy for people who take to the streets,” he says. But the early phase-out of coal objectively saves CO2-Emissions a. For him, sticking to exit dates and not to market mechanisms is “a victory” for climate protection.

There seemed to be a consensus in the group recently. After the Green Party Congress had approved the RWE deal with a narrow majority in October, the associated law passed the Bundestag in December without Green dissenting votes. The only abstention came from long-time anti-coal activist Kathrin Henneberger, who never made a secret of her criticism of the agreement.

The pictures of the police operation are effective

Under the impression of the pictures of the police operation, perhaps also surprised by the breadth of the protest, other dissenting voices can now be heard from the parliamentary group. The unity that Dröge speaks of has cracks.

So tweeted Nyke Slawik, member of the Bundestag in Leverkusen on Thursday that the early exit from coal was of course a success. “But we have to recognize that this compromise, which provides for the excavation of particularly thick layers of coal under Lützerath, is neither socially nor scientifically up-to-date.”

The Kreuzberg MP Canan Bayram, who was not present at the Bundestag vote in December, signed an open letter from the Greens against the eviction on Wednesday. As of Thursday afternoon, the letter had 1,657 signatories.

“Since it has been possible to guarantee the security of the energy supply, there is currently no reason to get the coal out of the ground under Lützerath,” Bayram told the taz. “Rather, the evacuation of the village is damaging: young people, to whom we owe the future, are losing confidence in the seriousness of political decisions and police forces are taking part in an oversized police operation, although they are needed more urgently elsewhere.”

MEP takes part in demo against eviction

Swantje Michaelsen, member of the Bundestag, took part in a demonstration against the eviction in Hanover on Wednesday. The transport politician is well networked with climate protection activists in the city and says she still feels part of the movement. Despite all the criticism of the Greens, despite her yes vote in the Bundestag, she felt welcome at the demo. Of course, her participation is still a balancing act.

“I’m not protesting against our own people. I protest for even more climate protection. It’s no use if we split as a party and I see that the agreement with RWE is less bad than the previous compromise on the coal phase-out in 2038,” says Michaelsen on the one hand. On the other hand: “The agreement is still far from good enough and that is why the fight against coal 2023 must continue. It is bitter that Lützerath is now being evacuated. But it could still be prevented that the coal under Lützerath is actually converted into electricity. And it’s worth fighting for.”

For example, an accelerated expansion of renewable energies or a faster increase in CO are conceivable2-Price. As a result, generating electricity from coal could become unprofitable sooner than expected.

Hofreiter stands by his yes to the deal with RWE

In contrast to the leadership of the parliamentary group, budget politician Sven-Christian Kindler does not want to defend the agreement with RWE either. “I can understand the people who are demonstrating in Lützerath,” he says. “The peaceful protest against a dirty brown coal mine is legitimate and understandable. The last hot summer and this warm winter show us again how far the climate crisis has progressed in our country.” The Greens should seek dialogue with the climate movement, especially in “critical debates like now”. In view of the “dramatic nature of the climate catastrophe”, the party 2023 must act even more fundamentally and decisively.

However, the Greens’ leadership continues to get support for their course from parts of the parliamentary group. The ex-group leader and party left-wing Anton Hofreiter, for example, who is usually not at a loss for open words, continues to stand by his yes vote in the Bundestag. Five villages around Lützerath and earlier the rest of the Hambach Forest were saved “and that under very difficult starting conditions after the coal exit by the grand coalition.” Admittedly, 100 percent were not achieved, but at least 80 percent. “That’s not bad,” says Hofreiter.

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