Greenpeace: “Back to normal = back to climate crisis”

Schiphol, Netherlands, May 14th, 2020 – This morning, activists from Greenpeace Netherlands cycled onto the runway at Schiphol Airport demanding the Dutch government regulates the billions that are being spent to support big polluting industries during the pandemic. Peaceful activists rolled out a banner saying, “Back to normal = back to climate crisis” between parked KLM airplanes.

Joris Thijssen, director of Greenpeace Netherlands, said:
“KLM gets a bailout for billions of euros even though the company has no climate plan and pays almost no taxes. Efforts to help the industry get through this crisis shouldn’t plunge us even deeper into the climate crisis. Blank check bailouts for big polluters are unacceptable. The government must impose climate-based conditions on these bailout billions.”

Activist cycle on the runway of Schiphol Airport where KLM parked its fleet – FOTO MARTEN VAN DIJL / GREENPEACE

Back to normal is back to the climate crisis
The government is currently providing unprecedented support in order to absorb the widespread impacts of the COVID pandemic. In the meantime, the climate crisis increases the frequency of extreme droughts, hurricanes and mass species extinctions. Joris Thijssen: “We are on this runway to demand that this money is not spent on going back to business-as-usual — because that’s a waste of money. Bailout funds should be invested into jobs, companies and sectors who have a transition plan for a green and fair future. Only then will we get out of this pandemic in a resilient way which provides security to workers in both the short and long term.”

Campaigning in the time of corona
Now more than ever, it is necessary to stand up for the climate and protect our environment. The political choices being made will have major consequences for decades to come. This is why the moment is now to exercise our right to peacefully protest and speak truth to power while using scientifically-advised precautions during this pandemic. 

Aviation: 30 billion bailout in Europe, and counting
Airlines across Europe are getting billions of euros in bailouts; the amount is currently hovering around 30 billion, according to the airline bailout tracker from Greenpeace, Carbon Market Watch and Transport & Environment. Greenpeace believes that there should be an annual CO2 cap which declines each subsequent year if airlines are to be in line with the Paris climate agreement. Currently, the transition towards sustainable aviation is going too slowly — the number of flights will have to decrease considerably, starting with the cancellation of all short-haul flights. This is not the first time that Greenpeace is taking action against CO2 emissions from aviation. Last December, hundreds of activists came together at Schiphol for Protestival, demanding a climate action plan for the airport.


For more information:

Press Office Greenpeace Netherlands, [email protected], +31 621 29 68 95

Images of the protest are published in the Greenpeace Media Library 

There is also a Greenpeace-livestream of the protest