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Victory! Italy decides to quit coal by 2025

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It began in December 2006. It was a foggy day at the Porto Tolle – a large power plant in the Northern Adriatic – which the Italian utility giant, Enel, was planning to convert into a new coal plant. 35 activists from Italy, UK, Poland and Germany stood ready to occupy the plant for three days to stop it from happening.

This was the beginning of our campaign to Quit Coal. Across Italy, people took action against coal power plants; from Genoa in the north, all the way to Brindisi in the south.

Greenpeace volunteers climb the 250m high chimney of Enel power plant, 14 Dec, 2006

On the 24th of October, after over a decade of tireless campaigning, we reached a major victory: the Italian Minister of economic development announced that Italy will be phasing out coal by 2025.

This is huge. While the proposed energy strategy still lacks ambition in its current form (it relies too much on natural gas) a clear direction is visible: the future is renewable.

Greenpeace activists lay a banner on a stockpile of coal at the Fiume Santo power plant, 19 Oct, 2008

People-powered activism is what made this happen. It’s proof that non-violent direct action works. It took hundreds of you rising up and protesting new coal to make the government listen. No new coal plants went through. We progressively shut down existing oil and coal plants and stopped a nuclear renaissance.

Activists paint our message on a cargo ship off-loading coal at the port of Genoa, 26 Oct, 2008

Renewable energy has nearly doubled in Italy already. After the progressive closure of 13GW worth of fossil fueled plants, the country is planning to grow renewables, smart grids and efficiency.  

The momentum is unstoppable. The UK, France, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Canada and Finland, have all made serious commitments to phase out coal in the next few decades.

A new era is starting. And you’re part of it.

Giuseppe Onufrio is the Executive Director of Greenpeace Italy 



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