November 21, 2018

Communities hit by climate impacts demand Germany quit coal

November 21, Europe – Today, people supporting the rights of communities impacted by climate change alongside the grassroots climate change campaign group 350.org launched an international petition demanding that the German government immediately put a stop to coal expansion projects and initiate a rapid phaseout of coal production and use. This petition is being launched ahead of a highly anticipated coal phase out proposal to be delivered by the German ‘coal commission’ in the coming weeks.

“From Japan to Puerto Rico, from the Arctic to Peru, people around the world demand climate justice and look towards Germany for leadership. By raising our voices, and gathering support from people all around the world, they will have to listen, and recognise that showing true leadership means keeping fossil fuels in the ground,” says Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, poet and climate change activist from the Marshall Islands.

Inside information indicates that extensive lobbying of the commission by the coal industry and its allies will result in a phase out proposal in early December that will fall well short of requirements that include:

  • Phasing out half of Germany’s coal capacity immediately in order to ensure that the national 2020 climate targets are met;
  • Limiting the increase in average surface temperature to 1.5°C;
  • Delivering energy policy aligned with Paris Agreement commitments.

These requirements, agreed to by the German and other European governments, mean that it is necessary to phase out coal (mining and consumption) in Germany as soon as possible – by 2025 at the latest.

This petition is the latest development in a series of interventions by impacted communities around the world that demonstrates the increasing resistance to major fossil fuel projects in Germany and beyond. The pressure on the German government to phase out coal has been building over recent months. Mass protests and a growing anti-coal movement helped save the ancient Hambach forest from RWE’s plans to expand an enormous lignite mine in western Germany – the largest source of CO2 in Europe.

The latest IPCC report from the world’s leading climate scientists in October made it clear: limiting global warming to 1.5°C is not only possible, it is crucial to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. 2018 has been a year of devastating climate impacts that are already rewriting the stories of millions of people around the world – the impacts of burning coal know no borders.

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Note to the editor:

Here is the petition

Media contact:

Mark Raven, 350.org communications: +447841474125 or [email protected]

Supporting quotes. People around the world demand the German government quit coal to limit climate chaos:

Reiko Takeuchi (Japan). Resident of Okayama where her home was seriously damaged in one of the worst regional flooding disasters in decades that killed at least 179 people and left 70 missing:

“The German government is not only going to decide about an end date for the coal phase out. It is going to decide about our livelihoods and the survival of us and the coming generations. This year Okayama was severely flooded. We are just starting to to stand up again from the hopelessness and deep sadness and move forward on the path of revitalization. But the lives lost in this flood will never come back. I only hope from bottom of my heart that something this sad won’t happen again to anybody on this planet.”

Moses Sikaala (Zambia):

“Because of climate change the weather patterns in Zambia have changed to the extreme already. Normally we start to receive rains in October just as the planting season starts, now people have planted but there a no rains, and this means poor yield and severe economic impacts. We are all watching closely what the German government is doing and pray that the countries in the industrialised world can look to other energy sources and phase out of coal now. Our animals have no food as the grazing land are all dried up for lack of rain.”

Amira Odeh (Puerto Rico). US National Organizer at 350.org, she is also helping to reforest Puerto Rico after the devastating hurricanes of 2017:

“1.5 C to my Caribbean community means that we get to stay in our homes, we get to keep celebrating our cultures and enjoying the places we love. Even though we will still live through many climate change effects, 1.5 will help me and the people I care about to preserve our way of live. Germany needs to phase out of coal now so that my island country of Puerto Rico can have a chance to thrive.”

Nicolas Fabre (Brazil). Advisor of Rural and Environment Development of the Association of Municipalities of the State of Ceará:

“The greatest impact in the region is certainly the water scarcity. Some municipalities receive in only one day half the amount of rain expected for the whole year, and in the other they are completely dry. They declare a state of emergency because of the floods, and six months later they declare emergency due to the drought. The time for the German government is to act now.”

Fenton Lutunatabua (Fiji). One of the Pacific Climate Warriors who are fighting for the survival of their island nations, culture and prosperity. He is also Pacific Regional Coordinator with 350.org:

“Climate change is a lived reality for many people living in the Pacific. The ongoing use of coal in Germany and the decisions around it that the German government take affect us here in our island homes. We are watching you and we insist that you act with responsibility. We call on you to respect the need to limit global warming to 1.5 in order to keep our islands above water.”

Claudia Palmer (New Zealand). Campaigns and Mobilisation Manager for 350.org Aotearoa:

“Here in Aotearoa New Zealand we are working hard to keep fossil fuels in the ground. But if Germany don’t play their part too, our rural coastlines communities are at risk from severe flooding. Germany needs a coal phase out now.”

Wanun Permpibul (Thailand). Climate Watch Thailand:

“Thailand is a very vulnerable country to the impacts of climate change. And the same is true for other countries in Asia-Pacific. We cannot afford a single coal fired power plant because our lives are at risk already. We need to stop coal power and other fossil fuels.”

Stephan Thomas (Canada). Energy Campaign Coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre in Canada:

“We need to phase out coal everywhere. We need strong movements that stretch across borders to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and to build a just transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Amanda Luna Tacunan (Peru). International coordinator of an indigenous council in the Amazon region of Peru, advocate for indigenous rights and witness to forced migration of indigenous communities due to climate impacts:

“The Amazon has been put out of ecological balance due to climate change and extreme environmental pollution. More and more native animals and plants are disappearing, and indigenous communities are losing their livelihoods. Mankind has lost the consciousness of being part of this world, we have to fight for stricter laws to combat the climate crisis.”

Jonas Vannar (The Arctic). Traditional Saami reindeer herder, these herds are threatened by the changing climate:

“As a reindeer herder you need the reindeer to be able to find food on their own. They smell the lichen under the snow. When it gets warm during the winter and then cold again, you get layers of ice building up on the ground, and they can’t smell the lichen which means they starve. I have experienced reindeer dying in my arms due to lack of food. This is something I never want to have to go through again.”

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