2 July 2016 – Friends of the Earth Sweden condemned the Swedish government today following their authorisation of state-owned energy company Vattenfall to sell their climate-killing coal operations in Germany.
The group has been campaigning for Vattenfall to close controversial opencast mines and power plants in Germany, including the site of the international Ende Gelände protest in May. Instead, Swedish politicians have agreed to the sale to the Czech venture capitalists EPH, currently the subject of police investigations in the country.
Andrea Söderblom-Tay, chairperson of Friends of the Earth Sweden said: “This was Sweden’s best chance to do its part in keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees. Instead, they’ve sold-out to the worst kind of capitalists –putting profit before the planet”.
The sale to EPH will make a planned coal-phase out in Germany much more difficult, according to the organisation. EPH, which already owns a smaller coal producer in Germany is currently planning to open a new mine.
Josef Patočka from Friends of the Earth Czech Republic said: “EPH has a history of irresponsibility and puts profits before society and nature. Lusatian coal should stay in the ground, just as the homes that are being consumed by the opencast coal mines should stay on the surface.”
Dipti Bhatnagar, climate justice and energy coordinator for Friends of the Earth International said: “By announcing the sale of Vattenfall’s lignite coal mines in Germany, the Swedish government has forever damaged its image and has shown their total disregard for the impending climate catastrophe. This comes barely 2 weeks after Sweden slammed shut its borders, by passing anti-migrant legislation, thereby resigning millions of refugees to the ravages of war and climate change”.
Photo: Open pit lignite (coal) mining and power plant in Jänschwalde, Brandenburg, Germany – via Wikimedia.