At 2am this morning, four Greenpeace activists boarded the Windsor Adventure, a coal cargo ship importing coal from Colombia into Spain.
Others painted “Quit Coal” in English and Spanish on the ship. The action was in protest against the Spanish government for causing climate change by relying so heavily on coal, the most polluting of all fossil fuels, for the country’s energy supply. The protest is part of Greenpeace’s four-month “quit coal” ship tour across Europe.
A report “El carbón en España, un futuro negro”, to be released today by Greenpeace Spain, and based on research by Ecofys S.L., shows that the Spanish governments imports 24 million tonnes of coal and pays €2,500 million in state aid to the coal industry every year, more than the renewable energy industry receives. A third of the world’s CO2 emissions come from coal, yet the Spanish government, like all EU countries, has granted the coal industry CO2 emissions rights for free.
“Our government talks about tackling climate change while feeding subsidies to the industry that’s causing it,” said Aida Vila Rovira, Greenpeace Spain climate and energy campaigner. “Today’s protest calls on to the government to quit coal and switch to subsidising clean, renewable energy sources. The potential of renewable energy in Spain is enormous and with the right investment, they can supply all the electricity and even all the energy needed.”
The action comes one day before the European Parliament votes on the EU's response to climate change. Greenpeace is calling on the EU to commit to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30% by 2020, and to vote for measures to block construction of over 50 new coal-fired plants in Europe.
“Coal is the single greatest threat facing our climate,” said Agnes de Rooij, Greenpeace International climate campaigner. “The message from today’s action is simple: to tackle climate change, Europe needs to end its outdated dependency on coal.”
This autumn, the Greenpeace ships Rainbow Warrior and Arctic Sunrise, are bringing the "Quit Coal" message to the Mediterranean and Europe. The tour, from Israel to Poland, takes place in the run-up to crucial UN climate negotiations in Poznan, Poland this December. Quitting coal will be 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(4).
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