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EU At Crossroads - Clean Or Dirty Energy?

European Power Sector At A Crossroads - Will They Choose Clean Or Dirty Energy?

Madrid, 27th April 2005-The stranglehold that a small number of energy companies have over the whole of the European Union is being challenged in a new Greenpeace report launched in Spain today (1). The ten largest companies (2) are responsible for 60% of all greenhouse gas emissions from the European power sector and 90% of the nuclear waste.

The power sector is responsible for releasing more than 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and over 2600 tons of dangerous radioactive waste every year. Today Greenpeace challenged Europe's top ten climate criminals to move to renewable energy would, secure energy supplies for the future, and avoid dangerous climate change.

"Because more than half of Europe's working coal power plants are over twenty years old, the next ten years are crucial. The power sector will decide how the new energy capacity will be built: whether Europe's power supply will be dirty fossil fuels and unsafe nuclear energy, or efficient and clean renewable energy. This is a great opportunity for Europe to shift to renewables," said Sven Teske, Greenpeace International's energy expert.

EU countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain and France rely on imported energy with no guarantee of supply for the future. The European Commission estimates the EU could be forced to import 70% of its total energy, and 90% of its oil in the next 20 to 30 years if no new measures are taken.

"Every euro invested in clean energy is a step away from dependency on imported fuels, world market prices and climate disruption. Renewable energy is the best way to meet needs for clean electricity," Teske said. " The switch to clean energy will help protect the climate, insulate national economies from the fluctuations of the global markets for fossil and nuclear fuels, and provide secure access to energy for future generations."

Greenpeace report - Whose Power is it anyway? available at:

Notes to editors: (1).
"Whose Power is it anyway?" The report identifies the sources of electricity generation (the electricity mix), the amount of CO2 emissions and the quantity of nuclear waste produced by the ten companies. According to the report, RWE emits annually nearly 170 million tonnes of CO2. German based E.on and Italy-based ENEL follow in second and third place, with over 70 million tonnes of CO2 emissions from their power plants.

(2) EdF, E.on, RWE, ENEL, Vattenfall, Electrabel, EnBW, Endesa, Iberdrola and British Energy

Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems and to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

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