Rainbow Warrior raises a reaction for the climate in Israel

Feature story - 9 September, 2008
The Israeli police, supported by the navy, arrested the captain of the Rainbow Warrior - together with 14 Greenpeace activists, the photographer and the videographer - for passing on the message to “Quit Coal”. Activists had been painting the message, in English and Hebrew, on a ship importing coal to the Ashkelon power plant in Israel. Police boarded the Rainbow Warrior before we had even started the painting.

Israeli Marine forces boarded the Rainbow Warrior at the military restricted area near the Ashkelon coal plant before arresting 14 activists together with the captain who were simply asking Israel to "Quit Coal" and "Save the Climate".

Our Captain, Daniel Rizotti, was arrested by Israeli police. The officers, arriving on a military ship and carrying machine guns, came on board and demanded that he sail back to Ashdod, the port we had left that morning. So, still waiting for the release of our activists, we sailed back.

The protest marked the launch of our " Quit Coal: Save the Climate" tour through the Mediterranean and Europe. Israel is only the beginning of our journey; we're visiting 11 countries en route to Poland, where crucial UN climate negotiations continue this December.

Why "Quit Coal"?

Because, when it comes to climate change, coal is by far the worst offender.  Yet governments seem to be missing the message, approving plans for hundreds of new coal-fired plants. If they don't wake up to the urgent need to stop this, then by 2030 carbon emissions coming from coal will have increased by some 60 percent. We're here to sound the alarm.

Our action in Israel was a wake-up call to the government to abandon its plans for a new coal plant in Ashkelon. Despite thousands of Israelis voicing their opposition to this unnecessary and dirty plant, the government has approved plans anyway. But it's not too late! Greenpeace is urging all Israelis - whether at home or abroad - to lodge a complaint.

Sunny Solution

Israel is very, very sunny. So it's pretty crazy that Israel is not embracing this solar potential and instead continues to rely on imported coal (not to mention the CO2 emissions of shipping the coal to Israel from Colombia, Indonesia and Australia). Israel is getting some things right - it has built the world's first solar thermal plant, and it's selling that technology worldwide. Something to celebrate indeed. But more is needed for Israel to be guaranteed a brighter future.

The world must quit its addiction to coal; luckily we have the cure. Greenpeace's Energy [R]evolution scenario shows how renewable energy, combined with greater energy efficiency, can cut global CO2 emissions by 50%, and deliver half the world's energy needs by 2050.

Happily, we now have our captain, activists, media team, inflatables and cameras  back on board. We've been deported from Israel, but now we're heading for Turkey - and the next stage of our "Quit Coal" tour.

Take Action

Tell Israel to Quit Coal!

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