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(en) Czech, AFED: End coal now and fairly -- Statement of the Underground Team! to block a coal excavator. [machine translation]

Date Wed, 16 Jun 2021 09:32:00 +0300

On June 9, 2021, we, the autonomous group Kolektiv Pod zem!, also occupied * two excavators in the Bílina and Nástup-Tušimice mines. We are doing this because we no longer want to stand idly by as coal and other fossil fuels continue to be mined and burned in our country, without a plan for a quick and fair end to them. Every day, we miss the opportunity to ensure a dignified future for the people of the coal regions. With each passing day, we are releasing more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which will heat the climate for many decades. ---- Let us recall the reasons why we need to end coal as soon as possible. Coal is our largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. The Czech Republic has the fourth highest CO2 emissions per capita in the European Union, and almost forty percent of our CO2 emissions come from coal combustion. At the same time, the Czech Republic has committed itself to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, ie to prevent global warming by significantly more than 1.5 ° C compared to before the Industrial Revolution - according to a study recently published by the World Meteorological Organization, this will probably happen by 2025. we will not be able to prevent such warming from humanity, there is a risk that the whole planet will change relatively quickly, fundamentally and irreversibly, which will most likely lead to an increasing number of natural disasters (massive droughts, floods, fires, etc.),

And how do those who hold power in today's society try to prevent this? Although the Czech government has set up a so-called coal commission, it is more of a farce - an illegitimate body, composed mainly of politicians and representatives of various strong interest groups, most of whom opposed the quick end of coal from the beginning. There was a complete lack of independent experts and people in the commission affected by the effects of coal mining and climate change. Until recently, the Ministry of Industry and Trade tried to enforce an unsubstantiated and completely meaningless proposal to end coal in 2038, which is not only too late, but also completely out of reality for macroeconomic reasons - independent of the government, the price of emission allowances rises disadvantageous. Even the year 2033, ie another proposal for the time anchoring of the end of coal mining and combustion, is not enough.

The flip side of the Coal Commission's decision, this bitter comedy, is the fact that the plans proposed to it do not take sufficient account of the fate of the people most affected by coal mining and burning. Its unrealistic and unjust proposals are designed to once again hit the richest with a golden parachute, leaving ordinary people in the coal regions swept away by structural problems and an unstable, outdated, weak and unecological economy characterized by extremely unevenly distributed wealth. They run counter to any sincere effort for a just transformation that would ensure a dignified life for workers in the coal industry and entire coal regions after the end of coal. The coal industry has historically and today relied on an unsustainable model of an economy of endless growth. Such growth takes place at all costs, at the cost of irreversible environmental damage, the poverty of many people, damage to health and deaths caused by burning coal, at the cost of irreversibly destroyed communities and landscapes. Such a system produces a lot of profit for a few people, but it brings only inequality, poverty and the inability to make democratic decisions about their region and themselves for the rest of the population.

The solution to this situation is certainly not the "plan" proposed by the corrupt government, which only further exacerbates existing inequalities. The solution is the most democratic process of coal withdrawal, in which municipalities, local governments, open assemblies and the general public can take part. The solution is to move away from coal, which is not in the hands of the central body, the government, but which is as decentralized as possible and in the hands of the smallest possible administrative units, thus enabling high public involvement. Wealth, currently concentrated in coal firms, should be distributed fairly in the mining-affected regions. Under democratic control, it should then be used for the most part for a just transformation of the region for the benefit of all locals and in line with the vision of a sustainable world. We humans must do a just transformation ourselves.

That is why we have no choice but to occupy the excavators, call for civil disobedience and all other forms of struggle for climate justice, and vigorously reject the senseless plans of a government that cannot even make a decision in a reasonable time.

Coal belongs underground!

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