BERGHEIM, Germany – Greenpeace in Germany staged a protest outside one of Europe’s most polluting coal plants to urge the government to adopt environmental policies that would help the country meet its 2020 climate targets, activists said Tuesday.
Some 60 environmental activists created a 50-meter long glowing thermometer in a meadow opposite the Niederaussem power plant, in the Northrhine-Westphalia state, in a visually arresting protest to highlight the vast amounts of greenhouse gases the lignite-fired power station emits from its polluting chimneys.
“A coal exit, which ensures the climate goals agreed in the Paris Agreement, is a great opportunity for all,” said Greenpeace CEO Martin Kaiser.
“Twenty five million tons of climate gas carbon dioxide blows out of Niederaussem every year into the air,” a Greenpeace statement explained. “With a total output of 3396 megawatts, it is the second most powerful coal-fired power plant in Germany,”
The Rhenish Brown Coal Field is one of Europe’s largest carbon dioxide source and includes the most powerful coal power plant in Germany, Neurath, which emits over 30 million tons a year.
Greenpeace laid out an urgent action plan in September that would mean Germany could meet climate targets by reducing the Niederaussem power plant to a quarter of its capacity by 2020, with the longer term aim of closing the entire plant down by 2030.
The Paris Agreement, a binding deal signed by 195 states, aims to curb rising temperatures this century to below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C in a bid to reduce the damaging effects of climate change.