We have tried it all. Petitions, protests, reports, conversations, international agreements and over 20 years of climate conferences. In 2015, Dutch citizens took the Dutch government to court and claimed climate action. They won. Nonetheless, the CO2 emissions have increased even more ever since.
The city council accepted a motion to phase out coal. Despite being the biggest shareholder of the port of Rotterdam, nothing has changed. This is because the port of Rotterdam and its director, Allard Castelein, do not care about the wishes of the democratically chosen city council. The lease for coal trans-shipment is extended for another 25 years. EMO, the European dry bulk commodities and transhipment company, had a one-sided decision for this extension. Adriaan Visser, from the political party D66, is the one who makes decisions concerning the port. The question remains whether the reason for blocking the extension is unwillingness or inability. In fact, he is not only answering at a slow pace, for 19 weeks he neglected the request from members of the city council to get insight into the contract. Adriaan Visser, allowing the automatic extension, is reluctant to contribute to the conservation of our planet. We demand that the contract is available to the public.
Multinationals dictate what will happen in the port. If the port director Castelein is permitted to decide, the transhipment of coal will continue until 2043. Even if citizens sign petitions, demonstrate, publish reports about blood coal, or repeatedly declare the damage being done, even if we vote for people with a heart for the Earth – the destruction will continue. Companies are being protected while they continue their destructive practices.
Whereas coal is leading to a one-sided lease extension due to supposed essential investments in the Netherlands, the extraction of coal abroad creates displacement of peoples and destruction of their livelihoods. The practices of the EMO, therefore, do not only consist of increasing global warming, the coal stored is responsible for displacing over fifty thousand people from their habitats. The coal that lies in the harbour equals the size of more than forty football fields. The coal is indirectly responsible for the death of over three thousand people. Drummond and Prodeco/Glenncore are to be held accountable for these killings.
The blood coal that arrives here is burned in coal plants in the rest of Europe. If Rotterdam stops shipping coal, its transit and burning will be drastically reduced. No other port has the capacity to take over the Rotterdam trans-shipment. No port that honours the Paris climate agreements has the balls to invest in coal infrastructure. That’s why politicians and the port of Rotterdam should take responsibility – the coal trans-shipment must stop. Otherwise, the climate protectors will act for change.
‘We Stop Coal’ is part of a rising movement. A movement that is not stopped by members of the city council, a movement that will not be dictated to by multinationals, a movement that fights back. In Germany, this movement is called Ende Gelande, in England, it is called Reclaim the Power.
Politicians close their eyes and hide behind realism. They call it utopic that people – like you and me – could make a change. People are banking on technological development to solve all these problems. This is insufficient and a gamble too far. We think action is crucial.
Together with numerous climate protectors, we set off in action today.
We bring one of the main infrastructures of the fossil industry to a halt.
We do not wait. We act.
We Stop Coal.
Follow @Stopsteenkool and #stopcoal and #010kolenvrij