Mid 2008, Greenpeace ship the SV Anna has travelled through the rivers of northern and eastern Europe highlighting the energy choice that we currently face - continue our dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear power or switch to renewables and energy efficiency, the only sustainable energy system that will enable us to stop climate change and remove the radioactive threat for good.
Greenpeace ship the Anna in front of a dirty fossil fuel energy plant and a wind turbine generating clean renewable energy during the European Energy Revolution Tour.
Climate change is real and happening right now. Its reality can be seenin melting ice, dying coral reefs, rising sea levels, changingecosystems and fatal heat waves. According to the World HealthOrganisation, 150,000 people are already dying every year as a resultof climate change.
To avoid the worst effects, we must drastically reduce the greenhousegas emissions which cause climate change. One such greenhouse gas iscarbon dioxide, which we emit when we burn fossil fuels (coal, gas andoil) to generate electricity. To stand any chance against climatechange, we must change the way we generate our electricity from fossilfuels to renewable energy. And do it quickly.
Nuclear power, also used to generate electricity, is as radioactive anddangerous. Every part of the nuclear cycle has unacceptable risks, fromthe mining of uranium, to the production of energy, to the unsolvedproblem of safely transporting and storing radioactive waste. Today thenuclear industry tries to present itself as the solution to climatechange in a massive green-washing drive. To replace one environmentalcatastrophe, polluting fossil fuel power, with another environmentaldisaster, nuclear energy is clearly not the answer.
In Europe the average age of power plants is between 20 and 30 yearsand many will soon need replacing. Now Europe has the chance to shiftto the only viable alternative, renewable energy.
And renewable energy is ready to take over. Some European countries(such as in Denmark, Spain or Germany) already lead the way byshowcasing rapidly maturing renewable technologies, like wind power,but there is still a long way to go. From the 25 countries of the EU,where just 10 power companies control the majority of the Europeanmarket, to the 10 new EU states where there are huge opportunities togreatly improve the energy infrastructure, the time is right for Europeto play a key role in setting the world on a path towards a renewableenergy future.
This Greenpeace tour of Europe and the Mediterranean was the start ofputting the region on the road to a clean energy revolution.