December 5, 2018

Katowice, 5 December, 2018 – An innovative new art exhibition was launched today outside of the UN climate COP24 conference, showcasing testimonials of people across Europe affected by the destructive impacts of coal.

The interactive installation by Europe Beyond Coal, CEE Bankwatch, and Greenpeace titled  “Citizens Beyond Coal” features five 3D printed statues, made from scans of people in coal affected communities from Alcudia, Spain; North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany; the Jiu Valley, Romania; and Silesia, Poland – the heart of coal country where COP24 is underway.   

“This installation gives regular people whose lives are deeply impacted by coal a voice at what will go down as one of the most notorious climate conferences in history. The Polish government, as host of this year’s UN Climate Summit, is going so far as to allow coal companies to sponsor the conference and decorate its hallways with the very thing that is causing climate breakdown, and harming people’s health. It is time for the Polish government to listen to the voices of its own people that want clean air and a future free of coal,” said Kathrin Gutmann, Europe Beyond Coal Campaign Director.

“When I meet with people from the regions, like those featured in this exhibit, they all tell me that they love their communities and want a better future, for themselves and their children, and they know this exists somewhere beyond coal. This is why it is so important that regional transformation takes into account the interests of the people in these regions, not just the coal barons who are currently soaking up short term benefits in the form of profits from extraction, but also unjust subsides,” said Petr Hlobil, CEE Bankwatch Campaigns Director.

Air pollution caused by coal power plants is putting our health at serious risk. The recently released report “Last Gasp: The coal companies making Europe sick” estimated that the ten most polluting coal companies in the EU, including RWE, EPH and PGE, could have caused as many as 7,600 premature deaths and up to €22 billion health costs in 2016[1].

“Today, through this artistic presentation, we are putting real people and their stories behind these shocking numbers. We need European coal companies and governments to start protecting human health and the climate by committing to an ambitious and just transition away from coal by 2030 the latest,” said Nina Stros, EU Coal Campaign Lead at Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe.

The installation can be visited at the Greenpeace Climate Hub, Katowice Rotunda, Królestwo Rondo im. gen. Jerzego Ziętka 1, 40-001 Katowice, from December 4 to 14. More information can be found at beyond-coal.eu/citizens

Images and video available here: https://goo.gl/cG6KdX

ENDS

Contact:

Greg McNevin, Europe Beyond Coal Communications Director (English)

greg@beyond-coal.eu, +49 1605 247 857

Isis Wiedmann, Press Officer at Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe (German, English)

isis.wiedmann@greenpeace.org, +49 (0) 1765 386 2544

Notes:

[1] Last Gasp: The coal companies making Europe sick, endorsed by Europe Beyond Coal, Sandbag, Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe, Climate Action Network Europe and the European Environmental Bureau. Find the report here: beyond-coal.eu/last-gasp