Yesterday, the Greenpeace Climate Rescue Station (CRS) was publicly launched in Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok.
The CRS made its first public debut back in 2008 in an area called the “Black Triangle,” the heart of the lignite coal mining in Europe that occupies a huge spread across Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. It stood on the land of a local farmer that was on the edge of a massive mine that stretched into the horizon, who had had enough and did not want his farm to be lost to the diggers.
The CRS formed a focal point for the anti-coal movement that was slowly but surely forming in the area. There were protests and actions: the issues around coal and climate were raised in Poland in the lead up to the 14th Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (or in short, the UN climate talks), in Poznan in November and December 2008.
The local campaign in the coal belt took its message to world leaders when the CRS moved to the town square in Poznan. There it became the stage for the Britten Sinphonia which performed a concert for COP delegates and the public.
Since then, the CRS travelled to Madrid where it was used by Greenpeace Spain to host public exhibitions showing the impacts of climate change, concerts and political discussions. It was also used as an education vehicle to teach people about renewable energy.
From Madrid, it went on the Glastonbury Festival in UK in June 2009 where it was made into an information center about Greenpeace UK’s campaign against the third runway at Heathrow Airport and against proposed new coal-fired power plants in the UK. From there it went to Bahir, India in 2011 to expose how coal power is a leading cause of climate change and how renewable energy use is the solution.
The CRS travels from one country to the next as an important tool for Greenpeace to attract public attention to the issues around solutions to climate change.
It’s been used to stage concerts, host press events around report launches and political moments. Workshops have been conducted for children and adults alike on the use of solar energy, such as powering your lights to cooking with concentrated sunlight.
All the electrical systems of the CRS are powered by wind and solar energy to demonstrate that, with a little bit of expertise, the shift to renewable energy is so easy.
The CRS is now in Thailand to urge the government to enact a renewable energy policy that will allow for the massive uptake of renewable energy such as solar PV and wind.
Thailand is off to a good start with 16-MW of installed solar PV but it must enact a strong renewable energy law that gives an overarching framework for renewable energy development in the country.
The features of this law should include the right of every citizen to use, produce and distribute renewable energy, guaranteed priority access to the grid, creation of smart grids so that the production of renewable energy can stay close to where it is needed, formation of research and development centers in the provinces so that each area is able to build their institutional capacity, stimulate job generation and local manufacturing, and to ensure that Thais have the right to choose renewable energy over fossil fuels.
A petition has been launched for an Energy Revolution to happen in Thailand. Sign up at www.greenpeace.or.th/GoRenewable.
Amalie Conchelle H. Obusan is the Regional Climate Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia. You can follow her updates on Twitter via @acchobusan