Ninety Greenpeace activists arrested at E.ON coal plant construction site, Rotterdam

Press release - November 15, 2008
Ninety Greenpeace activists have been arrested following an action this morning in which they chained themselves to building machinery and cranes to stop the construction of a coal fired power at Maasvlakte, Rotterdam. The action began at 7am with police beginning the arrests at midday.

Coal is the worst polluting of all fossil fuels, and the single greatest threat facing the climate. Coal-fired power stations undermine European targets to cut emissions by 30% by 2020. Energy company E.ON plans to build eight new coal fired power plants across Europe. The Rotterdam plant is intended to be the first, despite the fact it has not yet been granted the necessary permits (1).

"E.ON is blindly ignoring the science that clearly tells us coal is the biggest danger to our climate." said Agnes de Rooij, Greenpeace International Climate and Energy campaigner. "Today's action took the message that this is unacceptable, directly to them."

Prior to today's peaceful occupation, the activists set up a camp to bear witness to the unfolding climate disaster at the Rotterdam construction site. Today's action is part of a European wide campaign against E.ON, in the past month alone recent protests include:

A nine boat flotilla  let by the Greenpeace flagship the Rainbow Warrior sailing into the site of the Kingsnorth coal fired power plant in the UK. [2]

A peaceful occupation of the site of a proposed coal fired plant in Antwerp, Belgium[3]          

Halting loading to an E.ON owned coal plant in Sardinia, Italy [4]

In September, a British Crown Court jury acquitted six Greenpeace activists on charges of criminal damage after they scaled the chimney of E.ONs coal plant in Kingsnorth, Kent [5]. The jury decided that shutting down the coal plant was justified in the context of the damage to property caused around the world by CO2 emissions from Kingsnorth. NASA's top climate scientist, James Hansen, spoke in their defence and former Vice-President of the United States Al Gore has urged civil disobedience to stop the construction of new coal fired power plants [6].

The actions in Rotterdam are part of Greenpeace's global Quit Coal Campaign. The Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, is engaged in a ten-month "Quit Coal" expedition, which started in March in New Zealand and is currently in Europe. Further a Climate Rescue Station has been established on the edge of a vast coal mine in Poland, in the run-up to crucial UN climate negotiations in Poznan, Poland, this December.

Greenpeace welcomes the ruling of the US Environmental Protection Agency's Board of Appeals that new coal fired power plant must include the best available technology to restrict CO2 emissions: creating a legal limbo which is in effect a moratorium on new coal power in the United States. [7]

Quitting coal is essential to a meaningful deal to save the climate. European governments must show leadership by phasing-out coal in their own countries. Greenpeace's Energy [R]evolution 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 [8].

VVPR info: Agnes de Rooij, Greenpeace International Climate and Energy Campaigner, +31 6 41 45 66 74 Andre van der Vlugt, Press officer Greenpeace Netherlands +31 6-25031015 Meike Baretta, Campaign Leader Climate and Energy Greenpeace Netherlands +31 6-52062972 Greenpeace International Photo desk, +1 206 300 6511, Greenpeace International Video desk, +31 646197322, Greenpeace International press desk +31 20 718 2470

Notes: Notes [1] See http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/coal-the-eu-and-eon [2] See http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/media/press-releases/greenpeace-armada-descending-kingsnorth-power-station-20081029 [3] See http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/releases/greenpeace-uses-4000-windmills [4] See www.greenpeace.org/international/press/releases/energy-revolution-sardinia-20102008 [5] See http://www.greenpeace.org/international/news/kingsnorth-trial-verdict100908 [6] See http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE48N78A20080924 [7] See http://action.sierraclub.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=78902.0 [8] See http://www.greenpeace.org/energyrevolution