Hundreds of Greenpeace activists block easy way out for EU money men on climate change

Feature story - March 11, 2009
Three hundred and forty Greenpeace activists were arrested as they took their demand to "Bail out the Planet" to European Union finance ministers in Brussels.

Hundreds of activists were arrested as they demanded EU finance ministers "Bail out the planet."

Activists blocked the exits of the building where the ministers were meeting, and demanded an answer on the climate funding question. Swarms of uniformed officers, riot police and plain-clothed cops descended on the activists as a line of black armoured vehicles, police vans and busses moved in to block the public view of the activist-guarded doors. Electric saws were used to cut through the locks and police dragged activists face down into the line of police vehicles. It took the police more than two hours to remove all of the peaceful activists.

As the men and women of EU finance met to discuss the financial crisis and the climate crisis, we asked a question: where is the money to avert runaway climate change? Because it looks to us like there's far more interest in bailing out banks then in bailing out a planet headed toward a bankrupt future.

The decisions made today by EU finance ministers are important because they will directly influence Europe's position at the historic UN climate summit in Copenhagen this December. Richer developed countries need to contribute at least €110 billion a year by 2020 to make sure developing countries are able to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and cope with the already unavoidable impacts of climate change.

Each country's contribution towards a climate bailout plan is based on its ability to pay and its level of responsibility in causing climate change. Based on this, the  European governments' share is €35 billion a year by 2020, the equivalent of just €1.30 a week per European citizen: the price of a bus ticket.  To help raise these funds, we are supporting a new scheme that puts a price tag on greenhouse gas emissions and asks rich countries to pay for their carbon footprint according to their means and their responsibility for causing the climate problem.

UPDATE: All of the activists have been released from jail and their were no serious injuries sustained. View video from the action here.

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