Greenpeace occupies 4 Italian coal-fired power stations, demanding G8 climate leadership

Press release - 8 July, 2009
As the leaders of the world’s most powerful nations arrived at the G8 Summit today, over 100 Greenpeace activists from around the world have occupied four coal-fired power stations across Italy, demanding the G8 Heads of State take leadership on climate change.View the live feed of updates from these actions

In the early hours of this morning, the activists, from 18 countries, occupied coal conveyors and climbed smoke stacks and cranes on the four power stations in Brindisi, Marghera (just outside of Venice), at Vado Ligure, (near Genoa) and at an old oil plant at Porto Tolle, (set to be re-opened as an experimental so-called "clean coal" power plant.)  Coal is the worst climate pollutant of all fossil fuels.

The Brindisi plant is Italy's biggest coal-fired power station and the country's largest single source of C02 emissions. Greenpeace plans to stop it from polluting by blocking the coal conveyor belts and preventing coal from going into the plant.  

"Politicians talk but leaders act" said UK activist Ben Stewart from the top of the 160m high chimney at the Marghera plant.  "There is no more time to waste. The G8 leaders must stop putting the interests of big coal and other climate polluting industries ahead of the planet and take strong, decisive leadership on climate change. That means deep cuts in emissions by 2020, investing in adaption and mitigation in the developing world and halting tropical deforestation."

Stewart is one of the Kingsnorth Six climate activists who were acquitted of criminal damage after painting the chimney there.  

Greenpeace has established the urgent criteria that G8 leaders must agree to:

*  keep global temperature rise as far below a 2°C increase as possible, compared to pre-industrial levels, to avert catastrophic climate change.

* ensure that global emissions peak by 2015 and be as close to zero as possible by 2050;

* commit, as a group, to cut emissions by at least 40% by 2020, on 1990 levels;

* invest US$106 billion (€74 billion) of the US$140 billion needed annually for developing countries to adapt to and take action on climate change and to finance forest protection;

* immediately commit to the establishment of a funding mechanism to stop deforestation and associated emissions in all developing countries by 2020, and achieve zero deforestation in the Amazon, Congo Basin and Indonesia by 2015.

"The G8 heads of state must break the deadlock in the climate negotiations and stop blaming developing countries for their own inadequate climate policies.  This is an opportunity for them to take personal responsibility and show that they are real leaders - who act - and not just politicians full of hot air," said Phil Radford, Greenpeace US Executive Director, from the L'Aquila meeting.

"If the rest of the G8 descends to President Obama's stated goal of returning emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 then our children will inherit a world of droughts, famines and the climate catastrophe scientists are warning us about."

Details of activities and the coal plants:

Nationalities:  UK, US, Japan, Germany, France, Canada, Italy, Brazil, Finland, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Poland, Philippines, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Spain (not all are available to speak to the media).

1.  Brindisi, Southern Italy - 6 activists have occupied the coal conveyor of the biggest, most CO2 polluting coal fired power plant in Italy to force it to stop polluting. More than 14 million tonnes of CO2 pollution a year comes out of its chimney - more than the combined emissions of the world's 40 least polluting countries. Another 7 climbers have scaled the chimney. Australian climate campaigner, Julien Vincent, is one of the climbers and is available for interviews.

2.  Fusina plant, Marghera (near Venice) - 5 activists have occupied the coal conveyor of this coal plant.  A further 15 climbers have occupied the chimney and nearby cranes and have hung a banner on the chimney saying "G8: TAKE CLIMATE LEADERSHIP" and another saying 'ENERGY REVOLUTION = GREEN JOBS".  UK Activist Ben Stewart is on the chimney and available for interviews (contact Jo Kuper)

3.  Porto Tolle, Northern Italy:  6 climbers have scaled the chimney (Italy's second highest) of this old oil-fired power plant that is being converted to coal. When the plant re-opens, the plant will emit more than 10 million tonnes of CO2. Under the Kyoto Protocol, Italy needs to cut 100 million tonnes of CO2 not increase CO2 pollution. The Italian Government plans to re-open this plant as a so-called "clean coal" plant by applying an experimental technology called carbon capture and storage. To date, no large-scale coal fired power plant is equipped with this technology and experts say it will take at least ten more years to become operational.

4.  Savona, Vado Ligure (near Genoa): 11 climbers have scaled both chimneys, hanging a banner saying "TIME TO LEAD ON CLIMATE" off one, and camping on the top of the other.  

Meanwhile, the Greenpeace ships around the world are documenting the impacts of climate change already being felt.  The Arctic Sunrise is in the Arctic, as the ice cap is melting at a near-record rate, a stark reminder that the impacts of climate change are already taking place. The Esperanza is in the Pacific, where people on the 1m high island nation of Tuvalu are now in the process of working out where they will move to when sea levels rise.

 Greenpeace International contacts:

PHOTO: John Novis - +44 7801 615 889

VIDEO:  Lucy Campbell-Jackson - +31 634 738 790

Cindy Baxter, (in Rome - and to set up calls with Julien Vincent on the Brindisi chimney) +31 646 197 332

Venice:  Jo Kuper (and to set up calls with Ben in Venice):  +31 646 162 039

Venice: Joris Thijssen, Greenpeace climate campaigner: +31 646 162 031

Vado Ligure:  Abigail Jabines Greenpeace International Climate campaigner (Philippino): +39 339 336 2674 and Sara Pizzinato (Spanish) +39 349 711 8252

For the G8 meeting itself:

Beth Herzfeld, Media +44 7717 802 891

Tobias Muenchmeyer, Greenpeace Political Unit: +49 1511 453 3073

Guruswamy Ananthapadmanabhan, Greenpeace International: +31 646 184 252

Phil Radford Greenpeace US Executive Director:  +1 202 907 6500