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UN’s latest stark climate report is proof the EU must end fossil fuel age

(EurActiv, 9 Oct 2018) On Saturday, as top climate scientists were putting the final touches to the latest shattering UN report on climate science, thousands of people were protesting against the expansion of one of Europe’s biggest, dirtiest coalmines, writes Jagoda Munic.

Jagoda Munic is director of Friends of the Earth Europe.

Germany was an early trailblazer of the ‘Energiewende’ (energy transition), but it has for the past month been forcibly removing activists seeking to protect Hambach forest, a twelve-thousand-year-old woodland, from being destroyed in the name of coal.

Nordrhein-Westphalia’s coal mines are the largest single source of CO2 in Europe, and the lignite mined there is amongst the dirtiest energy sources on the planet.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s new science review yesterday (Monday 8) warned that even 1.5 degrees of global warming will inflict untold suffering on communities from the impacts of droughts, storms and rising tides.

Scientists find that limiting the damage to 1.5 degrees is still – just – possible. But the world is currently on track for more than double that level of warming, even if current carbon-cutting commitments under the Paris agreement would happen.

It seems difficult to comprehend this juxtaposition. That as the sobering IPCC findings show the scale and utter urgency of the transformation needed to avert dangerous climate change, even a supposed climate leader like Germany is complicit in the expansion of energy giant RWE’s climate-killing coal mine.

It should be a no-brainer. But such prevarication in the face of overwhelming climate emergency is the norm, one of countless examples. Despite warm words and some positive gestures, Germany, like the rest of the EU, shows little follow through to deliver the Paris agreement temperature targets. It’s a peculiar kind of cognitive dissonance. And it will kill the climate.

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EurActiv, 9 Oct 2018: UN’s latest stark climate report is proof the EU must end fossil fuel age