Posted by Emily, campaigner, onboard the Arctic Sunrise in Italy

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Our tour kicked off today in Cagliari, Sardinia with an action against the regional government. With this part of the country boasting the best onshore wind resource in all of Italy one would think that the government would be pushing for development of this local resource. It is estimated that using only 3% of the land in Sardinia for wind parks would generate as much as 50% of the electricity needed to keep the lights on. However, the short-sighted regional authorities are not taking the climate crisis seriously, having put forth a regional energy plan that would lead to a doubling of CO2 emissions and intentionally limit opportunities to build wind farms.

Previous Greenpeace requests to meet with chief Governor, Renato Soru to discuss this energy policy had been ignored. Today, we decided to up the ante. Early this morning, an action occurred at the Regional Parliament. An initial attempt to hang a banner from the roof of the building was jettisoned because of tight internal security at the building. Instead, Greenpeace activists demonstrated outside the entrance of the Regional Parliament with bags of coal and banners. A larger banner was also draped across the Arctic Sunrise, which was docked only a short distance away. The activists called on the government to abandon its dirty energy plans and rely on instead on clean, safe wind power.

This public pressure was successful in gaining an audience with Soru. The Sardinian Governor softened a bit in his position against wind but unfortunately remains committed to coal. This is particularly problematic in light of the emission reduction targets Italy has agreed to under the Kyoto Protocol and the EU emission reduction directive passed earlier this year. The national government has pledged to cut emissions but it is the regional governments that make the energy plans. This disconnect has allowed the proposal of energy plans that actually increase reliance on coal when the exact opposite is needed. The Italian government has received the message on climate change; however it appears not to have been delivered to the regional level.