Photo: Willem Thomson

Saturday’s “Stop coal” demonstrations in Cologne and Berlin were timed to coincide with the begin of the international climate conference (COP24) in Katowice. Just days before, the German government announced that the commission tasked with developing a plan for Germany’s coal phase-out will not announce its results until next year – months after the planned deadline.  Once again, Germany’s environment minister will be heading to the climate summit empty handed, and without a clear commitment to the targets set by the Paris Agreement.

Given the urgency of the climate crisis, the continued stalling and lack of political will is not acceptable. That was the clear message of the mass mobilisations in Germany in recent months, spurred on by the struggle to save the Hambach forest from coal company RWE.

Global voices call for Germany to quit coal

The call to end coal in Germany extends well beyond the country itself.

In the lead up to the government’s decision on the future of coal, people affected by the climate crisis from around the world have decided to send a clear message to Germany. 13,000 people have already signed an international petition demanding that the German government listen to the stories of those impacted by climate change around the world and understand what’s at stake.

“From Japan to Puerto Rico, from the Arctic to Peru, people around the world demand climate justice and look towards Germany for leadership. By raising our voices, and gathering support from people all around the world, they will have to listen, and recognise that showing true leadership means keeping fossil fuels in the ground.” Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, poet and climate change activist from the Marshall Islands.

The petition is accompanied by short stories from people on the frontlines of climate change – from Peru to Japan, from the Pacific to Brandenburg, a rural area in Germany currently impacted by severe drought. They demand action from Germany to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celcius.


As part of the project, the street art artist Nasca Uno created a huge piece of art featuring five of these representatives with their demand to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Moses, Wanun, Amanda, Reiner, Anais, and Nicolas are captured in huge, bold portraits.

Fossil Free stands in solidarity with impacted communities

In both Berlin and Cologne, Fossil Free groups from around Germany mobilised to the demonstrations and were visible as part of their own Fossil Free block.

Fossil Free Berlin carried the artwork with them in solidarity with those who impacted by the climate crisis. More photos can be found here.

If you haven’t signed the petition, it’s not too late. Help us share on social media and make the call for Germany to end coal even louder!


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