Green activists from Greenpeace and other groups appealed to the global leaders for an urgent phase-out of fossil fuels during a discussion in the Bonn Climate Conference.
They also urged the global leaders to shift to renewable energy as this is the only sustainable way to keep the earth livable.
“The unabated mining and burning of fossil fuel is driving climate change, making cyclones and storm surges more frequent and more intense,” said Alisi Nacewa, an activist of Pacific Island Represent.
“The damage already caused by fossil fuel cannot be reversed but we can still prevent the entire Pacific Islands from being swallowed up if we rapidly phase out fossil fuels. Paris Agreement signatories have already promised this. Now is the time to do it,” Alisi added.
The call came in a side event of the 23rd Conference of Parties on climate change in Bonn.
As signatories to the Paris Climate Agreement, Germany and Australia have agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but are far failing to act on that promise.
Germany still generates more than 40% of its electricity from coal and it has continued to build dirty coal plants since committing to emissions reductions. Australia has green lighted the construction of Adani Group’s Carmichael mega coal mine and continues to hand out billions of dollars in fossil fuel subsidies.
“Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised to comply with the German climate target of a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020. This is only possible with a coal phase-out,” said Greenpeace Germany climate expert Karsten Smid.
“If she fails to do so, she is sacrificing the fruits of the clean energy transition for the sake of the coal industry,” Karsten added.
The Neurath coal-fired power plant is located 50 kilometres away from the climate conference. With an output of 4,400 megawatts, Neurath is the largest coal-fired power plant in Germany and the second largest in Europe. With annual emissions of 32 million tons of CO2, it is one of the most climate-damaging coal-fired power plants in the world.
The power plant’s CO2 emissions are more than twice as high as those of the island state of Fiji. Despite massive protests, Chancellor Merkel laid the foundation stone for the new BoA 2 and 3 lignite blocks from the energy company RWE in Neurath in August 2006.
Pacific Island Represent activist Samu Kuridrani added: “Expanding fossil fuel industries at home, while sweet-talking vulnerable countries on the world stage, goes against the spirit of the Paris Agreement. We want to show world leaders that we see through their deception and demand real action. You can’t claim to be a friend of the Pacific while ramping up your fossil fuel industry.”