Climate activists storm Amsterdam airport and intercept private jets

More and more private jets fly to and around the Netherlands every day, and climate activists have had enough.

Hundreds of protesters stormed Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on Saturday and sat in front of the wheel of a private jet preventing it from taking off, while others cycled around the runway where the private jets were parked. , disrupting the regular traffic of wealthy tourists.

Inside the main lobby of Schiphol – Europe’s third largest airport in terms of pedestrian traffic – hundreds of Extinction Rebellion protesters also carried signs reading “Restrict Aviation” and “More Trains”.

After about three hours of demonstrations, Dutch border police began aggressively arresting activists, dragging some passive resisters to waiting buses nearby.

“This protest shows that people are no longer willing to accept the uncontrolled growth of the aviation industry,” said Dewi Zloch, climate campaigner with Greenpeace Netherlands. said in a statement.

She added, “The wealthy elite are using private jets more than ever, which is the most polluting way to fly. This is typical of the aviation industry, which doesn’t seem to see that it is putting people at risk by exacerbating the climate crisis. This has to be stopped.”

The protests targeted only the private jet runway in Schiphol and Dutch border police spokesman Major Robert van Kapel said no commercial flights were affected by the protest.

Private jet over Amsterdam

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the Netherlands, according to Greenpeace, releasing 12 billion kilograms of CO2 into the air annually.

Protest at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam
Climate activists wave to a Dutch policeman

In response to the protestsSchiphol CEO Ruud Sondag said the airport aims to be a zero-emissions airport by 2030 and supports the aviation industry’s goals of reaching net emissions by 2050.

He also said that change needed to happen faster and that he “shares that sense of urgency” with the protests. Sondag wrote in a statement: “It is true that interest groups insist on a cleaner Netherlands and demand accountability from the CEO on this matter.

Private jets have become a sore point in the Netherlands’ climate ambitions. Transport Minister Mark Harbers told the Dutch Parliament last month that his office could not control the growing traffic of private planes and the government was considering whether to include it in the country’s climate policy. me or not, Reuters reported.

And while some Dutch ministers have announced their commitment to restricting private jets, the number very short flight Businessmen and government ministers around the Netherlands continued to rise.

The Netherlands became the first country to limit the number of annual flights leaving its flagship airport due to pollution, limiting the number of planes arriving and leaving Schiphol airport to 440,000 a year by the end of 2023 – a reduction 11% from 2019 levels.

‘Climate chaos’

Dutch climate activism wants a smaller airport, fewer flights, more trains, and bans unnecessary short-haul flights.

Green Peace

The protest in Amsterdam comes as the world’s largest climate conference is underway, with 120 world leaders gathering at the UN COP27 in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Significant signs of the climate crisis have become increasingly acute in recent years, with a dramatic increase in destructive heat waves, droughts and floods. The past eight years have been the hottest years on record According to a new report from the United Nations World Meteorological Organization and the internationally agreed 1.5°C limit for global heating is currently “nearly unattainable”, the report said.

A major contributor to rising temperatures is the global aviation industry, which accounts for about 2.5% of global carbon emissions, although some scientists say it has much higher impact on climate change than this figure shows.

And the wealthy certainly account for a large portion of these emissions. According to Greenpeace, half of all aviation emissions in 2018 were caused by the top 1% of the world’s population. The worst culprits among them are private jets, which emit 10 times more greenhouse gases than a typical flight per passenger and 50 times more emissions than a train passenger. in Europe.

Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, is participating in the COP27 conference today. The mode of transportation he took to get there has yet to be reported.

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