As the world fights climate change in Bonn, Germany is mining coal in an ancient forest nearby

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Wind turbines are seen in front of a coal power plant of German utility RWE Power near the western town of Neurath February 28, 2014. Germany's No.2 utility RWE posted a steep net loss for 2013, due to 4.8 billion euros ($6.6 billion) in writedowns mainly on its ailing power plants, which have come under pressure from a massive rise in renewable energy capacity in its home market. Picture taken on February 28. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS ENERGY EMPLOYMENT) - RTR3G0H9

As the United Nations hosts the COP global climate change conference in Bonn, Germany’s biggest energy provider RWE is mining brown coal in a 12,000-year-old forest nearby, which has shrunk to 10% of its original size.

Published 1 min ago  |  Photo by Reuters/Ina Fassbender
Wind turbines are seen in front of a coal power plant of German utility RWE Power near the western town of Neurath February 28, 2014. Germany's No.2 utility RWE posted a steep net loss for 2013, due to 4.8 billion euros ($6.6 billion) in writedowns mainly on its ailing power plants, which have come under pressure from a massive rise in renewable energy capacity in its home market. Picture taken on February 28. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS ENERGY EMPLOYMENT) - RTR3G0H9

10%

For almost four decades, RWE has been mining the Hambach Forest for lignite, a soft, brown coal burned to generate electricity. RWE extracts 40 million metric tons of coal from the forest every year.

Wind turbines are seen in front of a coal power plant of German utility RWE Power near the western town of Neurath February 28, 2014. Germany's No.2 utility RWE posted a steep net loss for 2013, due to 4.8 billion euros ($6.6 billion) in writedowns mainly on its ailing power plants, which have come under pressure from a massive rise in renewable energy capacity in its home market. Picture taken on February 28. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS ENERGY EMPLOYMENT) - RTR3G0H9

10%

Though German chancellor Angela Merkel is asking for tougher measures in the fight against climate change, the mining is a reminder of Germany’s dependence on coal, the dirtiest of fossil fuels.

Wind turbines are seen in front of a coal power plant of German utility RWE Power near the western town of Neurath February 28, 2014. Germany's No.2 utility RWE posted a steep net loss for 2013, due to 4.8 billion euros ($6.6 billion) in writedowns mainly on its ailing power plants, which have come under pressure from a massive rise in renewable energy capacity in its home market. Picture taken on February 28. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS ENERGY EMPLOYMENT) - RTR3G0H9

10%

Germany is the biggest polluter in Europe, producing a fifth of its greenhouse gases. The country gets 40% of its energy from coal plants.

Published 1 min ago

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