I took part to this climbing action in Stockholm. It aimed at weaking public interest for the critic an Vattenfalls coal policy an for the Ende Gelände action of civil desobediance in Germany in a few weeks. I publish the Robin Wood Presse release about the action.
Stockholm, 27th of April 2016] At the same time as the Vattenfall Annual General Meeting activists of ROBIN WOOD have been protesting today in Stockholm against the sale of the lignite assets in Eastern Germany to Czech energy company EPH (Energetický a Prumyslovy Holding) and its financial partner PPF Investments. Around 9 o’clock, they hung up a banner with the text “Don’t sell the Climate. End Coal Now!” at « Katarinahissen », one of the town’s landmarks (a passenger elevator in Stockholm that connects Slussen, the lock area, to the heights of Södermalm). The action likely runs until noon. The German and Swedish activists are demanding that the Swedish government stop the deal between Vattenfall and EPH and take responsibility for climate, environment and society and the local community in Lusatia. “Sweden’s motto seems to be ‘Out of sight, out of mind’,” says Philip Bedall, Energy Campaigner at ROBIN WOOD. “Instead of initiating a controlled coal exit, the Swedish government wants to evade responsibility for climate protection and workers, leaving the field to a tough investor with the billionaire Petr Kellner at the top. For decades Vattenfall has earned money on the lignite, now Vattenfall shall also pay for the consequences.”
By dumping responsibility for Vattenfall’s extremely climate-damaging lignite sector, the Swedish Government continues to the worsening of the climate crisis. In pursuit of a quick profit from Lusatian coal EPH is hoping to acquire in Germany’s second largest coal mining area, EPH will likely oppose any closure of the three power plants and four open pits. This will exacerbate social conflicts. In addition, it is totally unsecured, if the Holding will cover the immense costs for the re-cultivation of the gigantic open pit holes or if the costs will be externalized to the general public.
“The Swedish government has to fulfill its national and international commitments for climate protection,” says Bedall. “This is only possible when power plants and opencast mines are shut down and the structural change in Lusatia is supported by responsible owners supporting the energy transition with all its strength.”
Now it is the Swedish government’s turn. The government and – in all likelihood also the Parliament – would have to approve the proposed deal in order for it to go through. There are still some time – a government decision is expected within the coming two months.
Civil society in Germany and international demands that the Swedish government stop the deal between Vattenfall and EPH and take responsibility – among them the Climate Alliance Germany (Klima-Allianz), the campaign network 350.org, Greenpeace, BUND / Friends of the Earth Germany, Oxfam Germany, Sandbag and the Alliance for a Coal Phase-Out in Berlin. In Lusatia citizens and environmental groups have already filed lawsuits against all plans for new opencast mines. For many years ROBIN WOOD activists are committed against an extension of opencast mines amongst others with tree casts. Numerous activists are willing to protest with means of civil disobedience like blockades and occupations. In May 2016 thousands of people announced to shut down the opencast mines in Lusatia with the Action Alliance « Ende Gelände! » [Here and no further!].
ROBIN WOOD: http://www.robinwood.de/Kohle
Anti-coal protests in Vattenfall’s lignite mining area:
Media reports about the position of Swedish parties on the future of Vattenfall’s lignite:
Greenpeace Nordic – Survey of the Swedish parties about the future of Vattenfall:
„Enkät till riksdagspartierna angående försäljningen av Vattenfalls
brunkolsverksamhet i Tyskland“
„Partiernas svar angående Vattenfall“ (pre-election 2014)
* * *
ROBIN WOOD is a German federal action group for Nature and Environment based in Hamburg. Since 1982 it is struggling for a change to an energy supply without coal and nuclear power.