Greenpeace Actions at Poznan UN Climate Negotiations

[Apologies to anyone who’s seen this already, but I thought it was important enough to disseminate widely – big ups to the Greenpeace NZ Climate Change crew!]

Greenpeace occupies Polish coal plant during UN talks
December 02, 2008
KONIN, Poland — Early this morning, 11 Greenpeace activists scaled a 150-metre high chimney at the Pątnów power plant in Poland to hang a banner reading “Quit coal, save the climate”.

The action comes one day after the opening of the UN Climate Negotiations in Poznan.

Poland 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 currently being finalised (1).

“This action is just part of a worldwide call for real action at the UN climate talks,” said Greenpeace New Zealand Senior Climate Campaigner. “Our colleagues in Poland are highlighting one of the key drivers of climate change – coal. But the other big driver is of course industrial agriculture, which New Zealand is contributing to more and more each year.

“Every country and every government has a part to play in helping avoid catastrophic climate change – be developed, developing, big or small.”

The Pątnów plant (2) 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(3), ” said Magdalena Zowsik, climate and energy campaigner of Greenpeace Poland.

There is little time left to stop dangerous climate change – global emissions must peak by 2015 and be reduced by 80-95 percent by 2050. Otherwise, 3 billion people could suffer increased water stress, and hundreds of millions face food insecurity.

During the UN Climate Negotiations in Poznan governments must agree:
• 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 percent, as identified by the IPCC.

“New Zealand must agree to adopt binding emission reduction targets at the Poznan meeting of between 25-40 per cent by 2020,” said Boxer.

Notes to Editor
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) 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.

(2) Zespoł Elektrowni Pątnów-Adamów-Konin SA

(3) 93 percent 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 the EU, including Poland. It demonstrates that the EU can slash emissions from energy use 30 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.
Vision, video, photos, report information
High resolution images and video of the activity will be available free of charge at: Greenpeace Media (Multiple images can be added to the ‘lightbox’ and downloaded as a single zip file). Video footage: Greenpeace International Video desk: +31 646 197 322

Contact information
Jacek Winiarski – Press officer, Greenpeace Poland
+48 504 274 080
In New Zealand – Simon Boxer – Senior Climate Campaigner – 021905579
Kathy Cumming – Communications and media – 021 495 216

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