Coal shipment stopped in Turkey

Feature story - 15 September, 2008
Four climbers from our ship the Rainbow Warrior were arrested yesterday, in Turkey, after they occupied a giant coal loading platform to prevent a delivery of coal to the giant Sugozo coal-fired power station, one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world. After 11 hours blocking coal coming off the “Global Winner” (“Global Warmer” more like), a South African cargo ship, they were forced down by police using high-pressure water hoses. The four climbers and their support team have now been released and are facing the prospect of heavy fines for their actions.

Activists board one of the world's largest coal platforms at Botas Oil Terminal, stopping barges from importing coal to the Sugozu (Isken) coal fired power plant.

The Sugozu coal power plant emits some 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year (three times as much as Iceland), which makes it the fourth largest single emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, in terms of power plants.

The action was designed to send a message to the Turkish state authority EMRA (Energy Market Regulatory Authority) - which is responsible for licensing coal power plants. Launching Greenpeace Turkey's  "Quit Coal" campaign, the action is just the beginning of our work to stop the construction of 40 new coal fired power plants currently planned in Turkey. Insanely, almost all of them will rely on imported coal in a country where wind and solar alone could easily exceed current electricity demand.

Turkey is already an international disgrace when it comes to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, and has failed to even ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

Hilal Atici, our Greenpeace Mediterranean Coal Campaigner says "The Isken action is just the beginning - we will not stop until our government wakes up and quits coal."

The Greenpeace Mediterranean Executive Director has requested a meeting with EMRA this week to press our case. He will be outside their head offices in Ankara ensuring that they listen to our very simple demand "No new coal in Turkey - Embrace an energy revolution." The ship is now en-route to Istanbul.

Turkey is the second country on Greenpeace's European "Quit Coal" ship tour - we are taking the message directly to governments in the run-up to crucial UN climate negotiations in Poznan, Poland this December. Greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for post 2012 need to be set and the final agreement on these will be made in Copenhagen in 2009. The period leading up to this is really "make of break" for the climate. The message is pretty clear - in order to have any meaningful deal to save the climate, the world has to quit coal - the worst polluter of all fossil fuels.

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