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Debate: ‘The CO2 boomerang of Greenpeace’ (Trouw)

5 January 2011

Greenpeace is campaigning in the Eemshaven against new coal-fired power plants of energy providers Nuon and RWE. Coal-fired power plants emit more greenhouse gas (CO2) than gas-fired power plants and are bad for the climate. These plants do not belong in a sustainable society. Therefore, the campaign seems quite logical, if, however, it would stay limited to this.

Greenpeace is not only campaigning against the construction of coal-fired power plants, but opposes at the same time against CO2 storage. With this the environmental organisation chooses a strategy that is counterproductive for the climate. A danger exists that coal-fired power plants are continuing to be built; however, without CO2 storage: stopping storage seems easier than stopping the construction of coal plants, as we have seen with the Barendrecht project which has been ended. Greenpeace should rather focus on making sure that guarantees will be given that CO2 is actually going to be stored, as well as on getting legislation for a maximum CO2 emission standard when generating electricity. CO2 storage is not the ultimate solution for our climate problem. However, we do not have the luxury to eliminate this option. Energy saving and renewable energy cannot be brought to full development fast enough in order to limit climate change. CO2 storage is therefore necessary as a transitional measure. Also, CO2 storage can contribute to reaching the climate objective in sectors other than the generation of electricity. Alternatives for CO2 reduction are much harder to realize in this sector.


A more extensive version of the above statement was sent as letter to the editor to newspaper Trouw by former campaigner sustainable energy at Greenpeace Sander van Egmond, who is currently working at Utrecht University and involved in CATO. The letter has been published in Trouw on 6 January 2011.

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5 January 2011

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