Greenpeace joins Polish demonstration against coal

Press release - 15 November, 2008
400 people living around a huge open pit mine near Konin, Poland, joined Greenpeace today to reclaim the land occupied by the mine, which threatens their homes andlivelihoods. At noon, local residents together with 7 mayors from villages and towns that are facing destruction because of the mine's expansion, gathered at Greenpeace's Climate Rescue Station on the edge of the mine.

A four-storey tall planet Earth sitting on the edge of the vast open pit mine, the Rescue Station opened earlier this week as a focal point for opposition to the expansion of coal in Poland and the world. The station contains exhibitions and information showing the impact of coal. One third of CO2 pollution comes from coal, making it the single biggest cause of climate change. Stopping climate change means quitting coal.

Poland uses coal for 93% of its electricity production, more than double the world average, and is a major contributor to global warming. Poland is one of the top 20 states for CO2 emissions.

 "My people and I oppose the expansion of the mine because it will destroy the village we live in and force us to move," said Jozef Imbiorski, mayor of Tomislawice village.

Josef Drzazgowski, leader of a local opposition group added, "Lakes are disappearing, forests are drying up and farmers are complaining that they do not have enough water to irrigate their lands. Expansion of the mines is not an option for thousands of inhabitants of this area."

 "Climate change is the biggest economic, humanitarian and environmental threat mankind is facing," said Magdalena Zowsik, Greenpeace Poland climate and energy campaigner. "Coal is the dirtiest of all fuels and averting grave impacts of climate change, such as billions of people facing water shortages, will only be possible when we quit coal."

Greenpeace's Energy [R]evolution scenario, a detailed study of future energy pathways, shows how Poland can help solve the climate crisis by moving away from coal, using clean energy sources and implement energy efficiency. By 2050 Poland could produce 80% of its electricity from renewable energy resources. (1)

On 1 December, 2008, a crucial UN Climate Conference will open  in Poznan, Poland. On 8 December, a week into the talks, the Climate Rescue Station will be moved to Poznan Wolnos'ci Square. It will continue to send a message to delegates attending the climate talks to get serious about climate change, quit coal and work towards a meaningful deal to save the climate.

In Poznan, governments must agree a vision for climate action that should include the goal of global emissions peaking by 2015 and which contains emissions cuts of 25-40% by 2020 for developed countries. They must table a draft text for negotiations to begin early next year, so that they can be completed by the conclusion of the talks, taking place in Copenhagen at the end of 2009.

VVPR info: Magdalena Zowsik, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Poland:+48 513 172 537Joris Thijssen, Climate and Energy Campaigner GreenpeaceInternational, Amsterdam: +31 64 6162 031Ewa Jakubowska, Media Officer Greenpeace Poland: + 48 513 172 538Szabina Mózes , Media Officer, Greenpeace International: + 43 664 61 26 725International Photo desk: +1 206 300 6511, nternational Video desk: +31 646197322,

Notes: (1) Polish Scenario at scenario at