Friday, December 05, 2008

Greenpeace targets Poland

In the run up to the UN Climate Change Conference taking place this week and next in Poznan, the issue of climate change was brought into the public eye by Greenpeace, which publicly demonstrated against coal use. The protesters wanted to highlight the issue of Poland's over-reliance - as they see it - on coal to power its power stations.
An estimated 93 percent of Polish power stations run on coal.

Early last week Greenpeace activists demonstrated at mining firm KWB Konin's Jozwin 2B opencast lignite mine in Konin. They oppose the expansion of the mine, which they say will cause nearby LakeGoplo to dry up.

Having entered the mine's premises, they proceeded to try to paint a large "STOP" sign next to a giant excavator. An incident involving security officers and the protesters followed, and a group of 23 Greenpeace demonstrators and journalists was taken to police headquarters in Konin.

KWB Konin has said that it will take legal action against the protesters, who in turn are considering legal proceedings because of the rough treatment they claim to have received from the security guards.

Later in the week the environmental group dumped four tonnes of coal in front of the Sheraton hotel in Warsaw, where the Economy Ministry's climate-change-oriented Summit on Sectoral Cooperation was taking place. A banner bearing the text "Get serious, quit coal" was also erected.

Greenpeace has accused the Polish government of "actively sabotaging" the EU's climate change and energy package with its expansion of coal-mining.

Karolina Jankowska of Poland's Green Party, Zieloni 2004, while clearly sympathetic to Greenpeace's cause, said that their action was directed against the wrong adversary.

"I would suggest that this type of environmental organization should focus its efforts on criticizing the government, and not companies which are operating in the framework defined by the politicians who make the laws," said Jankowska.