Communities battling to save the last 10 per cent of Germany’s Hambach forest are celebrating the temporary suspension of logging granted by an administrative court in Münster on 5 October 2018. The suspension came after German Friends of the Earth group BUND, the complainants, revealed that the area should be protected under the EU's Habitats Directive due to the presence of species such as Bechstein bats. A ruling in the main case is expected by the end of 2020.
Just days before the logging was halted, MEPs from the European United Left/Nordic Green Left group urged the European Commission and German Minister President Laschet to stop the cutting and reminded them that “the Commission is entitled to start an infringement procedure against Member States that fail to meet the requirements of the EU Birds and Habitats directives.”
The ruling is particularly important as many of the world’s remaining coal deposits lie under forests. A 2016 report for Fern found that coal mining threatens nearly 12 million hectares of forest. As the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on how to keep global warming to 1.5˚C explains, we must stop burning coal and start protecting forests now.
RWE Power has warned the suspension of cutting could cost it hundreds of millions of Euro; the IPCC report makes it clear that continued cutting of forests for coal could cost us far more.