Cover: Greenpeace activists block a 20,000 tonne coal shipment to Kingsnorth power station in Kent. Above: Ending a week of actions calling on the G8 to take the lead on climate change, Greenpeace activists intercept a coal shipment in Italy.Kumi brings with him a passion for activism, for nonviolence and clear ideas to help shape the future of Greenpeace.
Politicians talk, but leaders act
Jim Footner, climate campaign
June and July proved busy months for activists in the UK and abroad taking direct actionto demand that leaders deliver policy changes that will seriously combat climate change.
In June, Greenpeace volunteers swam in front of an E.ON ship and othersclimbed aboard to stop it from unloading coal at Kingsnorth power station. The activiststook direct action where Energy Secretary, Ed Miliband has failed to take politicalaction to stop new coal. Despite the government assuring us that newly built powerstations will capture some of the carbon they release, the Government’s proposalswould effectively allow three tonnes of CO2 to be emitted from coal plants likeKingsnorth for every tonne that is captured and stored in the ground.Just 12 days later and actions at Kingsnorth were in the news again. A thousand peoplefrom groups ranging from the Women’s Instutute to Oxfam joined together to form agiant human chain around the power station demonstrating the growing coalitionopposed to prospect of emissions from new coal.
Also in June, the 29 volunteers who blocked a train transporting coal to Draxpower station last year were found guilty. The judge refused to allow the defendants,who were representing themselves, to officially run a defence based on climate change,despite that being their motivation to act. However, he described their defence as‘eloquent, sincere, moving and engaging’ as the defendants still managedto bring thethreat of climate change and the urgency to act to the forefront of their defence.
Italy, G8 summit:
Greenpeace volunteers from around the world occupied five coalpower stations in Italy to demand that world leaders, gathered in Rome for the G8conference, take leadership on climate change. Once again however, the G8 failedto act sufficiently to put the world on a path to avoiding dangerous climate change.We now have less than five months, before the international meeting in Copenhagen,for our politicians to become leaders. In the UK, that means Ed Miliband must stopproposals for new coal fired power stations like Kingsnorth from going ahead.
Sign the Big If pledge
Tell Ed Miliband what you’ll do if he gives the go-ahead to new dirty coal at Kingsnorth.Go to www.greenpeace.org.uk/bigif
New Executive Director forGreenpeace International
Prominent activist Kumi Naidoo from SouthAfrica has been appointed Executive Directorof Greenpeace International. Kumi will takeover from Gerd Leipold in November 2009.
‘I have long been an admirer of the work of Greenpeace, from my days as a young anti-apartheid activist in South Africa and currently as a member of the Greenpeace Africa Board... The way Greenpeace works on all levels –from confrontation to cooperation with governments and corporations –is an inspiration.The mix of pragmatism and passion really gets things done and effects real change in the world.I believe that Greenpeace is one of the most precious assets the global community possesses,and plays a critical part in reversing the current fatal trajectory of our planet.’
Kumi was one of the founders of Global Call toAction Against Poverty (GCAP) in 2005. Theorganisation that has since grown into a powerfulcoalition of anti-poverty campaigners from over100 countries. GCAP calls for action from worldleaders to end poverty and equality by fulfillingpromises on aid, trade, debt, climate change andgender equality.He now sits on the Greenpeace Africa board,working to end environmental destruction andfighting for the right of Africans to a healthyenvironment and is also Chair of the GlobalCampaign for Climate Action.Kumi will continue to use his influence togenerate civil society pressure and cooperationto demand a strong deal at the UN ClimateSummit in Copenhagen in December –one thatreduces CO
emissions, protects forests andpromotes renewables and energy efficiency.