Europe stands on the verge of a great opportunity. Its fleet of power stations, built thirty years ago is reaching the end of its life. With climate change an undeniable threat, this is a once in a lifetime chance to turn our back on fossil fuels and embrace the energy revolution. A revolution which could bring greenhouse gas emissions under control, and help prevent catastrophic climate change.
Activists plant 2,008 trees on the construction site of the new E.ON coal power plant in Maasvlakte, near Rotterdam. Ironically today is the, "national day for planting a tree", sponsored by E.ON.
A shame then that the power companies who could do most to
support that shift are doing their best to secure another thirty
years of business as usual.
Netherlands - trees against coal
In the Netherlands, German power company E.ON plan to build a
new coal fired power station, another four are also planned by
other utilities. Last week Greenpeace won an injunction halting the
construction from going ahead because E.ON does not have an
operating licence for the plant, only a construction permit. Our
lawsuit secures a window of opportunity to prevent the construction
from going ahead.
Seizing the opportunity, today, while E.ON has been seeking to
improve its image by sponsoring "national tree day", around 100
Greenpeace activists celebrated the event by planting thousands of
trees on the proposed site of the company's new power plant.
Germany - giant metal dinosaur
In Germany, Vattenfall are another company building new coal
fired power plants. Once again, Greenpeace is leading the fight to
stop them. The three new plants proposed by Vattenfall would pump
out some 18.2 million tonnes of carbon per year. Coal power
stations should go the way of the dinosaurs, and Greenpeace made
that point by delivering a 5-meter tall dinosaur and three tonnes
of coal to Vattenfalls' headquarters.
With the Vattenfall plant at Moorburg the subject of discussions
between Germany's Christian Democrats and Greens, as they seek to
form a new provincial government, there is a real chance to do the
right thing and consign this power plant to history.
Better ideas on offer
Coal companies try to disguise their filthy investments by
talking up the prospect of implementing Carbon Capture and Storage
CCS) technology. Just one of the problems? We need carbon
reductions now, but Vattenfall say their first 'commercial concept'
will be ready between 2015 and 2020 - too late to make a
difference, even it worked.
If Europe doesn't face up to the coal industry it will have to
face up to the consequences of climate change. Fortunately there is
Europe needs an Energy Revolution. That means investment in
clean energy and enhanced energy efficiency measures. Investing in
renewable energy like wind energy and solar power, or in combined
heat and power plants - which take the excess heat created by
electricity generation and make it available for heating rather
than letting it dissipate into the atmosphere - can deliver the CO2
savings we need. More demanding energy efficiency standards for
everything from light bulbs and fridges to cars will ensure the
economy continues to grow even as it decarbonises.
Take 7 steps to help the climate.
We don't accept money from governments or corporations -- and our financial independence is what allows us to pressure both. We rely on over 2 million people worldwide who give whatever they can. Please join us.