Germany's Coal Addiction

World's largest working machine

In Janschwalde, Germany, a vast mining operation is generating 14,000 tons a day.

Owned by the Swedish company Vattenfall, it gnaws away top soil and chews into lignite, or brown coal, one of the most pollutant of fossil fuels.

In the last 3 years, there’s been an increase in demand for lignite energy due to Germany scaling down use of nuclear energy.

Germany's lignite consumption in 2013 was the highest in 20 years, ironically when the country is shifting to renewable energy.

The shift began after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, and Germany plans to phase out all its nuclear reactors by 2022.

The village sits on land the mining company wants to strip away to get to the oil.
The entire town will have to be moved, and 900 people will be resettled.
Homes, livelihood and business will be lost.
The plan to build the mine, which would start in 2015, is still pending approval from the state.
The past is stamped on the village. The bell that hangs in the church was forged before Columbus came to America.
The potential mine has sparked intense conflict.
If the mine doesn’t expand, 
it will eventually close.
Wolfgang Rupierper predicts job loss if the mine closes.
Residents are fighting with a mixture of anger and classic German stoicism.