French energy giant to stop new coal

15 October 2015

French energy giant Engie this week announced it will stop investing in coal in a victory for Les Amis de la Terre/Friends of the Earth France and its campaign against Engie's dirty energy investments.

The victory comes days after last saw community activists around Europe and the world target dirty, undemocratic energy system with coordinated action as part of 'Reclaim Power'.

Friends of the Earth France has been working tirelessly, with other organisations, alongside communities affected by Engie's operations.

Engie's dirty energy investments were proving to be a major embarrassment to the company and to the French government, as the company is a sponsor of the upcoming United Nations climate talks, which Paris will host from 30 November.

"Engie's announcement is people power at work. We have supported grassroots communities resisting dirty energy and drawn powerful international solidarity to this campaign. We will keep this momentum building until we see an end to dirty fossil fuel and nuclear energy," said Malika Peyraut, energy campaigner with Friends of the Earth France.

A video by Young Friends of the Earth France/Jeunes Amis de la Terre France demanding that Engie change its tune went viral on social media last week, adding to the chorus of voices insisting that Engie, a sponsor of the upcoming Paris climate talks, stop its climate wrecking investments.

Reclaim Power brought together countries and communities, each facing their own energy challenges, connecting their struggles in solidarity and in action.

"The energy sector is the largest, fastest-growing contributor to climate change. More than a third of all human greenhouse gas emissions come from burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas for energy. The time has come to Reclaim Power – to take control of our own energy systems," said Lucy Cadena, climate justice and energy coordinator at Friends of the Earth International.

In the UK, one of the targets was Barclays Bank. Friends of the Earth supporters up and down the country held protests outside branches of the bank and demanded it stop funding fracking.

Barclays Bank owns 97% of Third Energy – the company planning to frack very close to the North Yorks Moors National Park. Barclays has a long history of bankrolling dirty energy and now it's doing it in North Yorkshire. It would be the first time that a major High Street bank has directly invested in fracking in the UK.

Local activists protest against Barclays in Leeds

You can email Barclays Chairman John McFarlane to persuade them, and Third Energy, not to frack in North Yorkshire.

In Birmingham in the UK, the local Friends of the earth group organised a funeral for fossil fuel investments as part of its calls for divestment from dirty energy.

Birmingham Friends of the Earth's funeral for fossil fuels #ReclaimPower

There were events all over the globe, including in the Philippines, Peru and Nepal.

Cancel coal protest in the Philippines #ReclaimPower

#ReclaimPower is a global call from social movements, international networks, non-profit organisations and grassroots groups united across continents to:

  • Ban new dirty energy projects
  • End government subsidies and public handouts for dirty energy
  • Divest from fossil fuel corporations
  • Provide universal access to energy
  • End excessive energy consumption by corporations and global elites
  • Make a swift and just transition to public and community renewable energy systems.