23:15 GMT28 January 2020
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    Cutting down some of the last old growth forests in Europe to dig up a heavily-polluting form of coal will cause “irresponsible damage to nature,” according to environmental activists in Germany.

    As the use and popularity of alternative and sustainable energy sources — including solar and wind power — continues to skyrocket, some forms of polluting fossil fuel sources remain profitable as a court has okayed the destruction of an ancient forest in Germany to expand a coal strip mine for an excessively dirty form of the world's most polluting energy source.

    An administrative court in Cologne on Friday turned down a lawsuit brought by the environmental group Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND) seeking to stop the clearcutting of most of what remains of the old growth Hambach forest, one of the last remaining ancient forests of its kind in Europe.

    Many environmental groups — including BUND — decried the ruling.

    German energy company RWE, which owns and operates the mine that extracts and burns the extremely polluting brown lignite coal, will now face countersuits and appeals, according to Abcnews.go.com.

    "We will continue to pursue all legal and political avenues to stop this irresponsible open-pit mine and to save what remains of the Hambach forest," said a BUND spokesperson, who added that RWE's insistence on stripping the forest was unnecessarily "causing further irresponsible damage to nature."

    Many have pointed out that coal-burning power utilities are seeing rapid declines and that recent profit-taking moves — including unnecessary mining — signal the death rattle for the once-powerful industry.

    In August, Eurelectric, a trade group representing some 3,500 utilities valued at over $240 billion pledged that original bullet points contained within the historic 2015 Paris climate agreement would remain in place, and that there would be no new investment in coal-fired power plants after 2020, cited by The Guardian.

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    Tags:
    coal extraction, environmental activism, RWE, Germany
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