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

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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.

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Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

I’m just waiting for the BBC and The Graun to blame the closure on Fatcha.

literate3
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literate3

Silicosis has been far more destructive of workers’ health than asbestosis (by a multiple in the UK) so the BBC and the Graun my keep you waiting: the closure is saving tens of thousands of men-years of suffering.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Indeed – anyone desperate to experience the filthy, unhealthy and dangerous work of deep coal-mining can try Poland (or just across the border in Czechia). You’ll obviously have to work for local rates of pay (and to local health and safety standards – https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/21/europe/czech-coal-mine-explosion-13-dead-intl/index.html)

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Snapped last month from outside a photography shop in Aachen – posters demanding the closure of both an existing nuclear plant in Belgium (that sells some of its power to Germany) and lignite mining. It’s like they’ve had a brain bypass!
https://1drv.ms/u/s!Aj1KAR_HSQjtiNkM5iNfKIitlojayw

BarksintheCountry
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BarksintheCountry

Ah, nostalgia for the 50’s. The 1850’s, that is.

Q46
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Q46

A brain needs to be present in the first instance for the bypass to be successful.

Shadeburst
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Shadeburst

Baby-boomers like myself have a hard time accepting that our children’s generation all have brain capacities equal to a neurosurgeon of our day.

literate3
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literate3

You are far too generous, Tim.
After reunification Germany closed down all the brown coal-fired power stations in former East Germany that had been polluting down-wind areas of west Germany. After Fukushima the Greens harrassed the spineless government to close down the non-polluting nuclear stations and then they *opened* power stations fuelled by horribly-polluting “brown coal” (lignite) rather than low-pollution natural gas in order to employ German miners. The EU “rules” about equal opportunities to suppliers from all EU states doesn’t apply the other side of the English Channel.

Q46
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Q46

Had Glogalwarmageddon been a reality, then governments would have encouraged and promoted nuclear to make a reduction in CO2 emissions. Even though electricity production produces less than 30% of CO2 emissions, it still would have been significant.

That they did not, proves none of the slimeballs believed it. His Imperial Highness Macron wants to shut down 50% of France’s nuke capacity (France gets 80% of demand from nuke and exports 3€billion excess) and replace it with windmills, which of course will need fossil fuel backup stations to smooth out the intermittency inherent with wind and solar.

Politicians are mad.