Greenpeace's Plans to buy Vattenfall’s German Lignite Activities

Lignite Mining

Greenpeace's Plans to buy Vattenfall’s German Lignite Activities

On October 6, 2015, Greenpeace Sweden has stated an interest in buying Vattenfall’s German lignite activities. This is in response to Vattenfall’s decision to divest from the lignite business and put their operation up for sale.
(ed. WoMaMarcel - 07/10/2015)
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Stockholm, Sweden – By owning 100% of Vattenfall, the Swedish government has a unique a opportunity to leave enormous amounts of lignite in the ground. As the government cannot guarantee that it will use this opportunity, the environmental movement needs to take action. By buying the operation Greenpeace wants to ensure that the new mines Vattenfall is planning are not opened and the lignite is left in the ground.

Annika Jacobson, Greenpeace Sweden Programme Manager said: “Greenpeace is taking concrete action on behalf of the climate by showing its interest in Vattenfall’s lignite activities. The Swedish government cannot contribute to an acquisition by a buyer that would continue to burn enormous amounts of coal. This is a signal Sweden cannot give before the Paris climate conference. We will have a serious discussion with Vattenfall on the acquisition. We have a thorough knowledge on the future of the energy market and on climate politics.”

If the operation were sold to another buyer it would lead to opening of five new lignite mines. These mines contain an amount of carbon dioxide that would be equivalent to 1.2 billion tons. At a time when coal use in China has diminished Vattenfall emits more carbon dioxide than the total emissions of Sweden. The German lignite activities are the dirtiest part of Vattenfall’s operations. Selling the lignite activities and giving the opportunity to another actor to continue with enormous emissions does not help anyone.

Annika Jacobson says: “Vattenfall and the Swedish government must take responsibility their emissions also outside the Swedish borders. If they don’t do it we must take action. The lignite must stay in the ground.“

Vattenfall spokeswomen Sabine Froning said in a statement on Tuesday that the process of finding a buyer would be "open," and that "all serious bids are welcome."

All Vattenfall’s lignite generation and mining assets in Germany will be included in the sale; power plants Boxberg, Jänschwalde, Schwarze Pumpe and Lippendorf block R — which currently have a combined capacity of more than 8000 MW and employ 8000 staff — as well as corresponding mining activities (Jänschwalde, Nochten, Reichwalde, Welzow-Süd and Cottbus Nord).

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