Guest blog from Diana Maciąga, Global Power Shift participant and organiser for the Association Workshop for All Beings/StopEP campaign
While the world begins to realise that complete withdrawal from dirty energies are the only way to stop further climate change, a new huge coal power plant is planned in the north of Poland. The pressure to build it is enormous, but the StopEP campaign led by Polish NGOs is giving us a ray of hope. They have started an international action of sending letters to the investor asking him to withdraw from coal and embrace sustainability. You can send a letter too.
Elektrownia Północ (the ‘North’ Power Plant) is the largest planned new coal-fired power plant in Europe, alone emitting approximately as much as the country of Cyprus, (with a 2 GW capacity, 4.6 million tons of coal burned and 9.4 million tons of CO2 emitted per year) making another big step right into the climate crisis. Once built, it will operate for at least 35 years, pushing further away the very much needed transition from fossil-based to low-carbon economy and increasing Poland’s deep dependence on coal. Poland is also the European country that pays the highest, hidden price for health issues caused by burning coal.
Elektrownia Północ belongs to Kulczyk Investments, a company involved in fossils and minerals extraction on four continents. Unbelievably, Dr Jan Kulczyk, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the company, is also a member of the Climate Change Task Force along side IPCC climate experts and Noble Prize winners. What’s even more incredible, is that since 2007 he’s hold the position of the Chairman of Green Cross International’s Board of Directors, a reputable organization which works for environmental safety.
Dr Kulczyk himself has declared several times how deeply he cares for the future of our planet and all its inhabitants. ‘We have a choice. Unless we start to eliminate the sources of global environmental risks today, tomorrow they will eliminate us’ he has recently said. ‘(…) in this game, the game for a friendly, modern world for our children and grandchildren, we may all lose. There will be no extra time.’
We agree and hold him to his word!
The social and environmental costs of the investment are tremendous. Located in agricultural areas with no heavy industry so far, the investment will irreversibly change their character and the unique cultural landscape of the region known for its medieval castles and monuments. The most famous is the 13th century Malbork Castle declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. Though it’s one of the biggest castles in the world, it will be dwarfed by the huge power plant located no more than 30 km away. Air, soil and water pollution will take a heavy toll on human health too and local wildlife is likely to suffer the heaviest blow. The project seriously threatens the protected Natura2000 sites, including the precious ecosystem of the Vistula River – the largest in Poland and the last of the big European rivers which maintained its natural character. A home for many rare plant and animal species, it is a crucial migratory corridor for protected fish. Pollution and water temperature increase caused by waste water discharge from the power plant may create an impenetrable barrier and so cut them off their breeding sites.
Though the investor has just announced the contractor of the investment (not surprisingly it is Alstom, a French manufacturing company) we still have the chance to prevent this major step backward in climate protection. Stand with the international society and support the action! Tell Dr Kulczyk to be true to his word by signing the letter and demanding that he withdrew from the ‘North’ Power Plant project.
The time is indeed running out. If we don’t want this project to be completed, we must take actions together and we must do it now. There will be no extra time.
More info: http://www.stopep.org/en