Report: Climate protests rising
The Worldwatch Institute reports that climate protests are escalating worldwide, as more and more people join movements to block the construction of coal-fired power plants and pressure their governments to mandate greenhouse-gas-emission caps.
The Worldwatch Institute reports that climate protests are escalating worldwide, as more and more people join movements to block the construction of coal-fired power plants and pressure their governments to mandate greenhouse-gas-emission caps.Skip to next paragraph
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Worldwatch writer Ben Block cites recent demonstrations throughout Europe, Australia, and the United States. He quotes a clean-energy youth movement spokeswoman who marvels at the recent increase in participants:
"What I see is – in the last year – it just exploded and went from being a sizable amount of people, several thousands of very active youth all around the country, to just hundreds of thousands of young people," said Brianna Cayo Cotter, communications director for Energy Action Coalition, a network of North American youth climate activists. "I feel like the floodgates are about to open. We have the numbers. We have the skills. We have the passion."
Mr. Block reports that, in the United States, a movement against coal power that began four years ago has successfully cut in half the number of new coal-fired power plants.
The movement achieved a major victory last week, when a lawsuit by the Sierra Club prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to freeze construction of the roughly 100 new coal plants around the US. Coal power stations, the EPA ruled, must now take carbon dioxide emissions into account.
To curb the use of coal – the most polluting of all fossil fuels – activists often employ conventional channels, such as lobbying governments and filing lawsuits, but they are also increasingly engaging in civil disobedience.
In the Netherlands this past weekend, two Greenpeace ships blocked a dock at a port in Rotterdam used to unload coal, while elsewhere in the city, 90 Greenpeace activists were arrested after they chained themselves to machinery in an attempt to prevent the construction of a new coal power station.
On Nov. 1, some 25 activists in Sydney, Australia, were arrested after they chained themselves to a coal conveyor belt at one of Australia's largest power stations. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the activists, who were members of the climate-action group Rising Tide, brought the plant's energy production to a standstill.
In September, 15 activists from various environmental groups were arrested in Wise County, Va., after they formed a human barrier to block construction of a Dominion coal plant. Charged with trespassing, they eventually had to pay $400 in fines.