Mobilisations all over Spain to demand an end to coal before the start of the Climate Summit

In an intense weekend prior to the start of COP24, the platform A Carbon-Free Future has demonstrated in more than 20 localities throughout Spain demanding, companies and governments, the end of coal before 2025 for its serious consequences on people’s health and the environment.

This platform, which brings together more than 30 environmental organizations and other groups throughout Spain and has been manifested under the slogan ‘Turn Off Coal’, has concentrated in front of some of the most important coal-fired power plants in Spain as As Pontes (A Coruña), Carboneras (Almería), Los Barrios (Cádiz), Alcudia (Mallorca), La Pereda (Asturias), Puente Nuevo (Córdoba) and La Robla (León), in addition to having taken the centre of cities such as Madrid, Valencia, Badajoz, Tarragona, Granada, Pamplona, Alicante, Bilbao, Málaga, Valladolid, Zaragoza or Girona.

A Carbon-Free Future is part of a European movement that fights to leave behind the use of the most polluting fossil fuel and main responsible for climate change by the emission of greenhouse gases. The effects of not limiting global warming to an increase of 1.5 degrees could be very serious for the planet, as the latest IPCC report warned.

As has happened in other European countries, these demonstrations were held the weekend before the 24th UN climate summit (COP24) in Katowice (Poland), a vital meeting that will strengthen the joint lines of work to combat climate change and become the beginning of the end of fossil fuels.

Spain, which together with Poland and Germany is the third country with the highest number of coal-fired power plants among the 30 most toxic in Europe, must therefore not give any more subsidies to the coal sector, close the plants in order to comply with the Paris Agreements, with its European commitments, and present to the European Commission a schedule for the scheduled closure of the plants before 2025 within the framework of the energy and climate plan. At the same time, electricity companies must stop investing in their coal-fired power stations and request official closures to ensure that they are orderly.

Coal, in addition to being primarily responsible for climate change, is also completely harmful to people’s health. As the latest report by Europe Beyond Coal, Last Gasp [1], points out, Europe’s 91 coal-fired power plants were responsible in 2016 for 7,600 premature deaths, more than 137,000 cases of asthma symptoms in children, 3,320 new cases of chronic bronchitis and more than 22 billion euros in the health system. In this list, the companies Endesa and Naturgy stand out as the sixth and 19th most polluting on the continent, respectively.

Finally, A Carbon-Free Future appeals to the duty of political decisions to implement just transition alternatives, and to companies to guarantee deadlines and submit requests for the closure of thermal power plants, as well as transition plans for those affected, ensuring a new carbon-free energy model, based on savings, efficiency, exclusive use of renewable energy and energy sovereignty.

Therefore, the groups that have participated in the week of action demand the President of the Government, Pedro Sanchez, to send a strong message on the end of coal in Spain in his speech today before the COP24 in Poland to stop the burning of this hydrocarbon throughout the Spanish territory.

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