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‘No future in fossil fuels’ - Greenpeace, Pacific activists call for climate action at COP23

Activists from Greenpeace in Germany and Pacific Island Represent have sent a message to leaders meeting at the UN climate talks in Bonn, projecting an image of faces onto a coal power plant and calling for an urgent phase out of fossil fuels.

Bonn, Germany – WEBWIRE
Projection onto Coal Power Plant Neurath in Germany - Credit:
© Daniel Müller / Greenpeace
Projection onto Coal Power Plant Neurath in Germany - Credit: © Daniel Müller / Greenpeace

The message “No future in fossil fuels” and #COP23 was projected onto the polluting Neurath coal power plant alongside faces from the Pacific Islands and around the world to put a spotlight on the impact the emissions from climate summit host nation Germany have on the Pacific.

The activists were also critical of Pacific regional neighbour Australia and the impacts its coal exports and emissions have on small island states, where people are already living with the consequences of climate change.

“The unabated mining and burning of fossil fuels is driving climate change, making cyclones and storm surges more frequent and more intense,” Pacific Island Represent activist Alisi Nacewa said.

“The damage already caused by fossil fuels cannot be reversed but we can still prevent entire Pacific Islands from being swallowed up if we rapidly phase out fossil fuels. Paris Agreement signatories have already promised this. Now is the time to do it.”  

As signatories to the Paris Climate Agreement, Germany and Australia have agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but are so far failing to act on that promise.

Germany still generates more than 40 percent of its electricity from coal (1) and has continued to build dirty coal plants since committing to emissions reductions, while Australia has greenlighted the construction of Adani Group’s Carmichael mega coal mine and continues to hand out billions of dollars in fossil fuel subsidies.

“Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised to comply with the German climate target of a 40 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020. This is only possible with a coal phase-out,” said Greenpeace Germany climate expert Karsten Smid. “If she fails to do so, she is sacrificing the fruits of the clean energy transition for the sake of the coal industry.”

The Neurath brown coal-fired power plant is located 50 kilometres from the climate conference. With an output of 4400 megawatts, Neurath is the largest coal-fired power plant in Germany and the second largest in Europe. With annual emissions of 32 million tons of CO2, it is one of the most climate-damaging coal-fired power plants in the world.

The power plant’s CO2 emissions are more than twice as high as those of the island state of Fiji. Despite massive protests, Chancellor Merkel laid the foundation stone for the new BoA 2&3 lignite blocks from the energy company RWE in Neurath in August 2006.

Pacific Island Represent activist Samu Kuridrani added:

“Expanding fossil fuel industries at home, while sweet-talking to vulnerable countries on the world stage, goes against the spirit of the Paris Agreement. We want to show world leaders that we see through their deception and demand real action. You can’t claim to be a friend of the Pacific while ramping up your fossil fuel industry.”



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