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Greenpeace protests against 'brown coal' mine in Poland

by Staff Writers
Warsaw (AFP) Nov 24, 2008
The global environmental group Greenpeace Monday protested against a polluting lignite or brown coal mine in central Poland, demanding its closure, as the country gears up to host the UN climate conference next month.

"A group of 22 Greenpeace activists entered the mine where they were brutally driven out by the mine's security," Greenpeace spokesperson Magdalena Zowsik told AFP.

"Don't burn our future with coal!" and "Quit coal!" were among the banners brandished by activists before they were detained by police at the request of management at the mine near Konin.

"Our protest was not directed against miners. It was addressed to the Polish government urging it to develop a strategy to gradually phase out coal in favour of renewable energy sources," Zowsik said.

Coal-fired ultilities are regarded as a significant source of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming.

According to World Coal Institute figures for 2007, Poland -- beside South Africa -- is the most coal-dependent country in the world, producing 94 percent of its electricity from coal.

An estimated 150 years of reserves make relatively clean-burning hard coal Poland's number one conventional energy resource, but it also has significant reserves of highly polluting lignite or brown coal.

The European Union's planned climate package sets industrial targets of 20 percent more renewables, 20 percent fewer CO2 emissions and a 20 percent increase in energy efficiency by 2020 compared with 1990 levels.

While Poland will host the United Nations' December 1-12 climate conference, its liberal government has threatened to torpedo the flagship EU climate deal should it overly burden its growing economy and consumers with costly auctions of CO2 emission quotas.

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Chinese coal miner pays 186 mln dlrs for Australia exploration licence
Shanghai (AFP) Nov 21, 2008
China Shenhua Energy, the country's largest coal miner, said Friday it had paid 299.9 million Australia dollars (185.7 million US dollars) for a coal exploration licence in Australia.

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