Germany Closes Last Black Coal Mine – Only The Far Worse Brown Coal, Lignite, To Go


Germany has just closed its last black coal mine which we can think of as a victory for good economic sense. There was really no point at all in it being open, nor its earlier cohort, other than just the power of the unions to make sure that they weren’t closed. But even union power and that nostalgia for when real men did real jobs ends eventually, loses its political power, so finally, as in the UK, the mines can be closed.

There’s also that climate thing of course but that’s a side show. And it’s even less than a side show in Germany where they’ve actually been opening brown coal mines. For anyone taking global warming seriously that’s an act of madness.

Straining to hold back tears, their once-white helmets and overalls smeared with dust, seven miners in Germany stepped out of a metal cage Friday bearing the last piece of black coal hauled up from 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) below. The ceremony marked the end of an industry that laid the foundations for Germany’s industrial revolution and its post-war economic recovery.

Well, yes, how lovely. But the mines haven’t been economic for decades, being kept alive only by subsidy. Should have been closed long ago that is:

Black coal mines once dominated the Ruhr region surrounding Bottrop, employing up to half a million people at their peak in the 1950s. But they have since been in steady decline, surviving only thanks to generous subsidies.

There’s never been any point to pouring money into holes in the ground so good they finally stopped:

While mining hard coal is officially over in Germany as of today, mines for lignite, or brown coal, remain in operation. Protests between occupiers of the Hambach Forest and energy giant RWE, which wants to raze part of it to expand its lignite mine, have been an ongoing spectacle in German news media this fall.

But there’s the stupidity of it all. Germany decided to close down the nuclear industry after Fukushima despite that showing how damn safe reactors are. They also didn’t have enough alternative energy sources. For all the trillion euros and up poured into renewables there’s no chance at all industry can be powered by them. So, they have not only kept the lignite mines and plants open, they’ve even been expanding them. In order to deal with climate change they’ve closed down a non-emitting power source, nuclear, to replace it with the very worst of the fossil fuels, lignite.

Not all that bright the Krauts sometimes.