5 December 2011

Africa: Greenpeace Plans to Step Up Its Stunts

Greenpeace plans to step up its campaign against alleged corporate interference at COP17.

At a media briefing today, moments after seven activists were arrested for hanging a "Listen to people, not polluters" green banner on a beachfront hotel being used by the Council for Sustainable Business, Greenpeace International head Kumi Naidoo said they were thinking about their next move.

Greenpeace SA chair Ferrial Adams launched an attack on the South African state-owned electricity company, Eskom, adding the parastatal to Greenpeace's "Dirty Dozen in Durban" -- a list of the world's 12 worst fossil-fuel polluters. She accusing the company of selling energy to "dirty dozen" member BHPBilliton for 350% cheaper than South Africans were paying.

Secret subsidy deals were also in place with South African corporates; 36 SA corporates used 45% of Eskom's power output, while 20 percent of South Africans (12 million people) were "energy impoverished" and had no access to electricity.

Eskom is responsible for 45% of South Africa's greenhouse emissions, helping South Africa rank as the 11th highest emitter in the world.

Adams said Eskom was influential in the South African delegation to COP17, and had already heavily influenced the SA government's 20-year energy plan.

The plan envisioned a transition to renewable energy of a "very low 8%", according to Greenpeace research.

"We need to have it at 50% by 2030," she said.

Naidoo said South Africa suffered from a "disconnect" between its role as a champion of the Africa Grouip, which is calling for the Kyoto Protocol to be extended, and the reality of the country's heavy, and expanding reliance on coal.

South African intends building two more coal-fired power stations, which will be among the eight biggest ever built.

"And the argument about clean coal is not true. It does not exist," said Adams.

The two leaders spoke of Saturday's diverse march of climate change activist groups and labour as a sign that global warming united all people, but criticized the actions of the "green bombers" - scores of COP17 "volunteers" who arrived in brand new bright green tracksuits and allegedly threw objects at the New Left Front group.

Police stepped in and kept the groups apart.

Adams claimed the volunteers were "paid to disrupt" the march and had links to the ANC Youth League.

The group's youth league affiliation was confirmed to this reporter by their leader during the march.

Greenpeace says the coal industry is spending millions on lobbying, with three "climate denial" lobbyists attached to every US congress member.

While 80% of business is estimated at being positioned in the middle ground, Greenpeace says they are only taking "baby steps" to reduce emissions.

"Science tells us emissions have to peak by 2015 and then must start declining to prevent the world from warming up more than the already frightening trajectory which is heading to two degrees.

"We are running out of time," Naidoo said.

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