Action at the most polluting coal plant in Italy, owned by Enel.
In November 2007 we
paid a visit to the Brindisi Sud coal power station, which
belches out nearly 15 million tons of global warming pollution
every year, to label it as the number one Italian cause of climate
Local police responded by slapping unique injunctions on our 12
volunteers declaring them "socialmente pericolosi" (a danger to
society) and banning them from the local area for three years.
Normally only convicted criminals or mafia associates are
considered a "danger to society". This was the first time that
Italian police have used such an injunction for a peaceful
Clearly the real danger to society is massive coal plants
releasing millions of tonnes of global warming pollution every
year. In response hundreds of Italians also declared themselves
"banditi" for the climate, posting their pictures on
our website in support of the volunteers.
When the injunctions were contested in the Court of Lecce the
judge over turned the injunctions and stated: "The demonstration
had justifiable and appreciable motivations in the high
environmental risk the power station poses to the whole area ...
the action has been a reaction to the polluting threat of the power
station, which negates the nature of the intrusion, which in
another case would be unacceptable".
With Italian state and energy companies seeking to expand coal
power in Italy, this is clearly someone who can see the huge danger
of coal expansion. He would do a much better job than the
politicians currently in charge of Italian energy policy, like the
Ministry for Economic Development, Mr. Pierluigi Bersani.
The local community of Brindisi are also taking a stand against
the polluting coal plant. The town council has even proposed a
motion to give the ex-bandits honorary citizenship.
No climate for old coal
Globally plans for new coal plants have been hitting the
buffers. The most polluting form of energy generation is finally
coming under more scrutiny. Only vested interests are refusing to
acknowledge that new coal will blow any chance of meeting vital
climate targets. The plan for the first new coal plant in the UK
for decades has been delayed. In the US, of the 151 coal-fired
power plants in the planning stages during 2007, 59 proposed plants
were either refused licenses by state governments or quietly
abandoned. In addition, close to 50 coal plants are being contested
in the courts, and the remaining plants will likely be challenged
when they reach the permitting stage.
We need an Energy Revolution, not new coal. 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.
Coal has no future if we are to tackle climate change - coal's
massive carbon emissions are the real danger to society.
Take seven steps to help tackle climate change
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