“Quit Coal” says Greenpeace from the top of a Polish coal plant
Konin, Poland, 2 December, 2008 – Early this morning, 11 Greenpeace activists scaled a 150-metre high chimney at the Pątnów power plant in Poland(1) to hang a banner reading “Quit coal, save the climate”. Greenpeace is calling on the Polish government to stop undermining the European Union climate package.
The action comes one day after the Polish Prime Minister said at the opening of the UN Climate Negotiations in Poznan that nothing would be allowed to upset the symbiotic relationship between man and nature.
“We support our Prime Minister when he says that we should not upset the relationship between man and nature,” said Magdalena Zowsik, climate and energy campaigner of Greenpeace Poland. “But we want to see action. We want an action plan explaining how our Prime Minister will help this country quit coal and implement the Polish tarῧet for clean renewable energy.
Poland still has plans to build coal-fired power plants and open new mines, which it is using as a reason to resist the EU climate package(2).
The Pątnów plant runs on lignite, the most CO2 polluting fuel, from the nearby Konin open cast mine. The Konin mine company plans to open a new open cast mine in Tomislawice to fuel the plant, threatening both the climate and the local environment.
“At a time when we have hopes that the US will join global efforts to combat climate change, the self-interested positions of both Poland and Germany are forcing the EU to weaken its climate package. Now is the time for real leadership from the EU, from Poland and Germany,” said Zowsik.(3)
There is little time left to stop dangerous climate change – global emissions must peak by 2015 and be reduced by 80-95% by 2050. Otherwise, 3 billion people could suffer increased water stress, and hundreds of millions face food insecurity. In Poland impacts will include flooding of the Żuławy region, Gdańsk old town and long summer droughts.
the UN Climate Negotiations in Poznan governments must
• a “climate vision” that will address what the science requires: global emissions peaking by 2015
• a draft text on the table to start negotiations in March
• a detailed work plan to get this completed by Copenhagen in December 2009; and
• developed countries must agree greenhouse gas emission reduction targets at the upper end of 25-40%, as identified by the IPCC.
One of the activists who climbed the
chimney at the Pątnów power plant is Will Rose – who
earlier this year was acquitted on charges of criminal
damage for his part in a similar action in the UK. A jury
found the activists to have acted with just cause.
(1) Zespoł Elektrowni Pątnów-Adamów-Konin SA
(2) The EU is days away from sealing its own deal to tackle climate change, known as the ‘climate package.’ Some EU countries, including Poland, are threatening to seriously weaken this package.
(3) 93% of Poland’s electricity produced in Poland comes from coal. Today in Brussels Greenpeace is launching its European Energy [R]evolution scenario, which shows that a cleaner future is possible. Carried out by the Institute of Technical Thermodyamics at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the report is a blueprint for a clean energy future in ῴhe EU, including Poland. It demonstrates that the EU can slash emissions from energy use 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.