World leaders block Arctic coal shipment

Feature story - 2 October, 2009
Angela Merkel, Barack Obama and other world leaders took non-violent direct action today against a coal mine in Svalbard, denouncing the fossil fuel that is powering the meltdown of the Arctic.

World leaders know they need to quit coal to save the climate.

Now THAT's the kind of headline we want to see in newspapers today.

Unfortunately, Obama, Merkel and their friends are not really in Svalbard. Activists, wearing face masks, are doing what world leaders should be doing: stopping coal, the single biggest man-made cause of climate change.

Climate Crime

Instead of world leaders, it was left to our activists once again to take action. We started blocking the conveyer belt of the Svea mine, which was bringing coal to the  transport ship MV Pascha, early this morning. Activists stopped operations by occupying a loading crane.

Update 10AM CET Saturday October 3:

Activists are being removed from the coal loading site by police now.

Update 8AM CET Saturday October 3:

Activists blocked operations throughout the night in minus 15 temperatures.

They're sending a message from one of the places most affected by climate change: a message of urgency to the real world leaders.Banners reading "Coal Climate Crime" and "Coal Powered Arctic Meltdown" are now hanging from the coal crane.

The Svea mine is located at 77 degrees North and is one of the closest mines to the North Pole. Coal is exported from here to Europe where it is used to generate electricity.

The temperature outside is below freezing and polar bears are roaming around but our activists are determined to stay on the conveyer belt as long as they can - to save the climate.

Check out the live feed of updates from Svalbard

Coal fired Arctic meltdown

The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise has been in the Arctic since June, hosting top scientists to document the effects of climate change in the region. They have found that Greenland's glaciers are losing ice at an accelerated rate. In September, the Arctic sea ice reached the third lowest minimum extent on record. The Arctic is melting down faster than scientists have predicted.

Sea-level rise could impact the homes of one in ten people on the planet this century. This coal-fired madness must stop. Our Energy [R]evolution report presents a realistic scenario showing how we can phase out coal fired power plants by 2050.

World leaders: take action (for real this time)

In just 66 days, the countries of the world will come together to negotiate a new climate treaty. World leaders need to take real action by personally committing to attend the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen, and to delivering a fair, ambitious and binding deal to avert catastrophic climate change.

Take Action

We need real leaders at the UN climate summit this December in Copenhagen. Join the global call for them to personally attend the meeting and ensure a fair, ambitious and binding treaty.

Support Us

Sending a ship to the Arctic isn't cheap. We've only been able to do it with support from people like you. Take the opportunity to make a difference for tomorrow by giving whatever you can today.