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Climate protectors occupy coal-ship transfer port in #Rotterdam

Rotterdam: This morning (March 9) dozens of climate activists from ‘We Stop Coal’ occupied the coal-ship port of the EMO Rotterdam. The participants of the protest state that it is time to break the power of the fossil industry. They say they will not leave until this renewed contract of EMO is made public and destroyed. There has been a huge international outcry about the continuation of the biggest coal harbour of Europe.

Submited to Enough is Enough.

Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of  these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.

Climate protectors occupy coal-ship transfer port in Rotterdam

Rotterdam: This morning (March 9) dozens of climate activists from ‘We Stop Coal’ occupied the coal-ship port of the EMO Rotterdam. The participants of the protest state that it is time to break the power of the fossil industry. They say they will not leave until this renewed contract of EMO is made public and destroyed. There has been a huge international outcry about the continuation of the biggest coal harbour of Europe.

If the Netherlands wants to take their responsibility regarding limiting the warming of the planet by 1.5 C°, then the port of Rotterdam should stop facilitating fossil fuels as soon as possible. “The port of Rotterdam and counsellor Visser are guilty of climate destruction. By not acting on their responsibility regarding the lease contract of the EMO transfer company they are equally responsible for the destruction of our Earth. People in the Global South and our children will be the ones facing the costs of the decisions of EMO.” Albeit spokesperson Maria Rietberg. “This is a Code Red for the climate. Rotterdam is the biggest coal dealer in Europe. If the government does not take action, it is up to us.”

The port of Rotterdam is a crucial cross-section of the global fossil fuel trade. “Fossil fuels belong to the past. If we do not intervene right now, our planet will slide into a situation where their inhabitants are unable to live any longer”. Says Rietberg. “Rising sea levels, melting icecaps, millions of people on the move because of hunger due to failed harvest: the cause of this is partly to be found in Rotterdam.”

In the city council of Rotterdam, the behaviour and (lack of) responsibility of D66 councillor Adriaan Visser have triggered antipathy and a feeling of disbelief. Many local political parties urged their followers to take part in the climate march for a coal-free Rotterdam. The march is organized by the Climate Initiative and will leave this afternoon from the City House towards the port company at 13:00 h.

In the port of Rotterdam, 28 million tonnes of coal is transferred yearly. The burning of this coal equals 47% of the total Dutch CO2 emissions. The majority of this coal is exported by train and inland ships to Germany. In November, hundreds of Dutch citizens joined the protests during the climate summit in Bonn at the Ende Gelände coal mine actions. Four thousand citizens joined the demonstration against the RWE brown coal mine. These people forced RWE to stop their destructive work.

German outrage

The passive display of the Rotterdam city board has caused international dismay, both in Germany and England. In an open letter, international environmental organizations called upon mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, port company director Allard Castelein and the city council to phase out the coal transfer. “The international willingness for action to come to the Rotterdam port for big scale actions has increased enormously” Albeit spokesperson Micha Vos. “International anti-coal coalitions state that the Netherlands is avoiding their responsibility. With this unacceptable decision, the City Council acts against the Paris climate agreement.

Just transition for the port workers

‘We Stop Coal’ aims for a just transition. The coal port workers whose families depend on their income can be part of the immediate transition to renewable energy. The action group supports the call of the FNV -the workers union, for a Coal Fund for the workers of the coal branch. “We think it is necessary that the shareholders give a compensation back to the workers; have they not profited for years from their labour?” states Vos. “Renewable energy provides many opportunities for a new future in the port. The continuation of the status quo through failing government policy has enormous consequences. That is why we now stand up for the climate and demand climate justice for everyone”, albeit Rietberg.

We put a Stop to Coal, March 9, 2018.


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