Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime> EU Observer on Climate Alarm action in Charlemagne Building in
Alex Foti on Thu, 29 Oct 2009 04:00:38 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> EU Observer on Climate Alarm action in Charlemagne Building in Brussels today


Climate activists shut down EU business conference

Climate Alarm activists hang a banner outside the Charlemagne building
(Photo: Leigh Phillips)

LEIGH PHILLIPS <lp {AT} euobs.com>

Today  {AT}  16:38 CET

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - British-style "climate camp" activists shut down the
annual conference of the Confederation of European Business in Brussels on
Wednesday (28 October) morning, occupying and blockading the European
Commission building where industrialists were due to talk about global

The new group, Climate Alarm, accused the EU executive of getting into bed
with the businesses sponsoring the conference, which include Shell, Daimler
and Arcelor-Mittal, companies it says are some of the worst carbon emitters
in the world.

"Corporate lobbyists have no role to play in deciding how to deal with the
climate crisis," said spokeswoman Anna Martin.

"[These firms] all lobby hard to obstruct strong action on climate change
...At the same time, they have made windfall profits from a failing carbon

A few dozen youthful campaigners from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany
swooped into the commission's Charlemagne building a few minutes before 9.00
am local time. EU officials had lent the building to the employers' group,
also known as "Business Europe'," for free for the duration of the

Some protesters chained the entrance closed while others deliberately
trapped themselves inside the large glass revolving doors by jamming wooden
door stops into its base, preventing any delegates from entering.

"This is the second time the European Commission has hosted Business
Europe's annual conference. It shows how close the EU institutions are to
business when it comes to climate change," Ms Martin told EUobserver.

Such radical direct action has been on the increase over the last couple of
years in the UK, where activists have occupied or tried to disrupt two
coal-fired power stations and block the extension of Heathrow airport. In
April this year, activists blocked streets in London's financial district to
protest the EU emissions trading scheme.

But the blockade on Wednesday, which lasted two hours before police used
pepper spray to disperse some of the activists and arrested 20, was the
first time climate campers had taken such action in the European capital.

The major environmental NGOs and development groups in Brussels regularly
engage in showpiece stunts outside the EU buildings. On the same day, in an
Oxfam action, hundreds of miniature tents were set up in Brussels Central
Station as well as in London, Berlin, Dublin and Madrid to symbolise the
plight of climate refugees, while Action Aid campaigners are to "hammer" on
the doors of the European Summit of premiers and presidents on Thursday.

The events are almost always carefully co-ordinated with police and building
security. But the Climate Alarm action was not authorised by the Brussels
police, which the campaigners believe is why the police took the unusual
step of using pepper spray.

The activists, who formed the new organisation at a climate camp on the
Belgian-Dutch border this summer, are linked to Climate Justice Action
(CJA), a wider global network of groups with a strong presence from NGOs in
the developing world, which say that emissions reductions targets do not
match what scientists are demanding and that the range of climate solutions
on offer actually exacerbates global warming and only benefits business.

Emissions trading, carbon capture and storage, carbon offsets, biofuels and
nuclear power - embraced by the EU and to a lesser degree by some of the
more mainstream green outfits as the main strategies to tackle climate
change - have been denounced by CJA as "false solutions".

They also say that industrialised countries owe an "environmental debt" to
developing countries for creating the climate crisis.

*'Climate change is everyone's business'*

The action managed to prevent a crowd of some 200 delegates from entering
the building. Hans Korteweg, a senior manager with Foratom, the European
Atomic Forum, told this website: "One of their banners says: 'Our climate is
not your business,' but climate is everyone's business, including business."

"Business absolutely has a role to play - we have the solutions available,
the technology we can transfer and the money to invest," he added. "They
should come into the meeting and debate, not shut it down."

Enzo Gatta, the industrial affairs committee chairman of Business Europe was
furious: "It's just unbelievable. I really don't understand this. We have
enormous amounts of money to invest."

"It's not about lobbying. There is already worldwide acceptance that
emissions must be reduced. There is no serious debate on this anymore. Now
it is just a question of co-ordination. That is what is being discussed."

A bemused researcher on energy and transport from Italy's National Research
Council, who was also stuck outside, was more relaxed about the situation.
Leaning against his luggage and pulling out a packet of cigarettes, Vincenzo
Antonucci said the activists had a point.

"It's difficult. On the one hand, what they are saying is true about the
likes of Shell and Daimler, of course. This is a correct point of view. But
on the other hand, even inside these companies, there are a few, some who
are serious about climate change."

"And green energy is expensive; it's big business. The revolution isn't
going to pay.

 * * * * * * * * * * *
P i a   E b e r h a r d t
Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)
Rue d'Edimbourg 26
1050 Brussels

 pia {AT} corporateeurope.org
phone: 0032 - (0) 2 89 30 930
mobile: 0032 - (0) 4 89 28 16 93
skype: piaebse


Corporate Europe Observatory
Rue d'Edimbourg 26
1050 Brussels
0032 (0)2 893 0930

-.-.- Climate Justice Action Network International Coordination List -.-.
POST TO LIST: climate09-int {AT} lists.riseup.net
UNSUBSCRIBE:  send a blank email to
climate09-int-unsubscribe {AT} lists.riseup.net
LISTKEEPERS:  climate09-int-editor {AT} lists.riseup.net

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: http://mail.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} kein.org