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Protests against coal ship in Denmark

Greenpeace, Copenhagen (Denmark), 3 December 2008

Greenpeace activists are blocking the ship Hanjin Imabari, carrying coal from Richards Bay, South Africa to the Danish coal plant Enstedværket, in Aabenraa, from offloading its many tonnes of coal. Activists have blocked a crane used to unload the coal, while the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior is urging the Danish government to “Quit Coal”.

The action, which began yesterday morning in the Baltic Sea[1], coincides with negotiations within the European Union to agree its ‘climate package’, legislation aimed at combating global warming. It also coincides with Greenpeace actions in Poland, where governments are meeting in Poznan to discuss their greenhouse gas reduction commitments for post-2012. They will agree these commitments in 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. [2]

Greenpeace in Denmark, 3 December 2008
photo: Greenpeace

“We are taking this action because burning coal is destroying the climate,” said Tarjei Haaland, climate and energy campaigner, Greenpeace Nordic. “We are sending a message to the governments meeting in Poznan that it’s time to get serious about climate action. As next year’s host to the most important climate negotiations the world has ever undertaken, Denmark must take the lead and quit coal.”

Denmark is the world’s fifth biggest importer of coal. Its main sources of coal imports - South Africa, Columbia, Russia, Poland and Australia - all suffer the unacceptable costs of coal mining. Greenpeace’s new report, “The True Cost of Coal”, shows how the market price of coal is just part of the overall story. External costs - all too often paid for by the poorest communities in society -include explosions, pollution of water resource, toxic waste, displacement of local communities, and affects on human health. [3]

“From the moment it is dug up through to its burning and waste, coal has devastating effects on our climate, our environment, our health and our livelihoods,” Haaland warned. “The Danish government cannot make any more excuses. It is simply time to “quit coal.”

At Poznan, governments must agree:

• a “climate vision” that will address what the science requires: global emissions peaking by 2015.

• a draft negotiating text on the table

• a detailed workplan to get this completed by Copenhagen in December 2009

• greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for developed countries at the upper end of 25-40%, as identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Notes:
[1] Greenpeace climbers from the Rainbow Warrior attempted to board the coal ship Hanjin Imabari, but were repelled with fire hoses.

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