Greenpeace occupies Schiphol runway to protest state aid to aviation sector

Greenpeace activists occupy a Schiphol runway to protest coronavirus aid to polluting aviation sector, 14 May 2020
Greenpeace activists occupy a Schiphol runway to protest coronavirus aid to polluting aviation sector, 14 May 2020Greenpeace NL, @GreenpeaceNLTwitter

Update 9:05 a.m. - The Koninklijke Marechaussee, a policing force that works as part of the Dutch military and is responsible for airport security, said on Twitter that it would detain the 11 Greenpeace activists who were protesting, and remove them from the Aalsmeerbaan runway at Schiphol.

Greenpeace activists occupied a runway at Schiphol airport on Thursday morning to protest the billion euros in support going to the polluting aviation sector during the coronavirus crisis. The environmental organization wants strict sustainability conditions to be attached to this aid.

According to NH Nieuws, the activists are occupying the Aalsmeerbaan, currently used to park KLM planes. They brought a small bridge with them to get across the ditch that separates the public road from the secured area at Schiphol, and bicycles to get to the runway as quickly as possible.

"KLM emits more CO2 than the largest coal-fired power station in the Netherlands," Greenpeace said on its website. The environmental organization therefore wants the government to attach three sustainability conditions to the up to 4 billion euros aid package the airline will receive - "a falling CO2 ceiling, fewer flights, and short haul flights replaced by trains."

Greenpeace also wants conditions attached to aid for other major polluters. "All financial support must be in line with the Paris climate agreement. Companies must therefore come up with a plan to commit to serious climate goals." The organization acknowledged that this will impact the major polluters' business operations, so suggested creating a fund to "guide people to greener work or to retrain them where necessary." 

 

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