Coal fired power stations are the single greatest cause of climate change.
landmark court rulings, to cancellation of plans for coal-fired
plants, to senior politicians joining our call, we've made it clear
that if we are to get serious about tackling climate change, then
the world needs to quit its addiction to coal.
From New Zealand to Denmark we've occupied coal mines and power
plants, blockaded coal cargo ships and carriers, and branded all
things coal as serial climate offenders - this includes a valiant
effort by our
Australian office who painted 20 coal cargo ships in one
We've shown clean energy alternatives along the way
We've always shown the clean energy alternatives that are
possible along the way; even
planting 4000 windmills on a proposed coal-fired power plant
site in Belgium. And in the
New Zealand we have seen some good movement on renewable energy
Energy [R]evolution scenario shows how renewable energy,
combined with greater energy efficiency, can cut global CO2
emissions by 50 percent, and deliver half the world's energy needs
by 2050. It quickly convinced an energy company to scrap its plans
for a new coal-fired plant in
Greece, where our "quit coal" campaign also led to Greece's
main opposition parties agreeing on board the Rainbow Warrior to
reject coal if they get into power next year. Meanwhile coal plants
in the Netherlands have
been scrapped in 2008 too.
In Southeast Asia senior politicians in the
Philippines were moved by the "quit coal" tour to publicly
support our demands, including filing resolution in the Senate
calling for the Philippines to quit coal and embrace a clean energy
future. Later in the year the Senate approved a progressive
Renewable Energy bill, something that had been pending for 18
years, and that Greenpeace Southeast Asia had been actively
The Kingsnorth Six and the true cost of coal
We've had court cases against us thrown out in
Italy, and in September our
UK office made history when they were found "not guilty" of
causing criminal damage to the smokestack of the Kingsnorth
coal-fired power station they painted in 2007. Their defence was
simple, they had "lawful excuse" because they were acting to
protect property around the world "in immediate need of protection"
from the impacts of climate change, caused in part by the burning
of coal. They won the case, featured as one of the
New York Times' big ideas of 2008.
Meanwhile we've revealed the
true cost of coal - showing how its market price ignores not
just the costs of climate change, but also displacement, black lung
disease, acid rain, mining accidents, smog pollution, reduced
agricultural yields, water pollution and much, much more. Our
report highlighting these impacts from Colombia to India to the
United States was released in November.
The Climate Rescue Station and Poznan
In December, with the ship tour still active, we set up a
Climate Rescue Station on the edge of an open pit coal mine in
Konin, Poland. At the centre of the rescue station we built a
four-storey version of the Earth that housed photographic
exhibitions, conferences, open days and meetings with journalists
from across the world. The rescue station's position on the edge of
the mine depicted how coal has driven our planet to the edge.
The rescue station operated in the run up to and through
crucial UN climate negotiations in Poznan, Poland.
Our activists joined hundreds of local people including town
mayors, threatened by the expansion of the pit mine, to call for an
energy revolution in Poland. Our
Czech Republic teams held solidarity actions over the course of
the month. These countries, alongside Poland are home to the
"black triangle" - one of the most heavily polluted areas on
Earth, thanks to coal.
Back in Poland a team of climbers in Poland occupied the
smokestack of the
Pątnów coal-fired power plant for three days as government
ministers from across the world debated the future of the planet at
the nearby Poznan negotiations. Simultaneous to that action, the
Rainbow Warrior was blocking a coal shipment in
Denmark, where next year the world's most important climate
negotiations ever will take place.
The road to Copenhagen
So as 2008 wraps up, we thought we would bring you a slideshow
of highlights from the past year. Of course, we still have a long
way to go. That's why in 2009 we will ramp up the pressure -
ensuring that the "quit coal" message gets through to governments
meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009. Watch this
Our vision of a better future is only as strong as the people who support us. Join Greenpeace today and add your voice to the movement that's committed to defending our planet. Your support will make all the difference.