"Only if the major industrialized countries swiftly move from coal to renewable energy can the most catastrophic consequences of climate change be prevented."
—Susanne Neubronner, Greenpeace Germany
As the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, heads into its final day following a long night of climate talks—during which U.S. President Donald Trump found himself entirely isolated—Greenpeace activists prominently displayed their argument that only ambitious and urgent action will suffice to both mitigate the harms wrought by climate change and build a sustainable future.
Early Saturday morning, 65 activists from several European countries scaled the 50-meter-high Köhlbrand bridge in Hamburg and presented a massive 18 x 40 meter banner that read simply: "End Coal."
Citing Trump's widely rebuked decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, Greenpeace emphasized in a statement that "the G20 Summit is a pivotal moment in the fight against global warming."
But the organization also called upon world leaders to treat the Paris agreement as a starting point, not as the end goal.
"While many of the G20 members have reaffirmed their strong commitment to the Paris accord, Greenpeace is urging the G20 states to not only swiftly implement the Paris agreement, but also to raise their ambition and go beyond Paris," the group said.
"Only if the major industrialized countries swiftly move from coal to renewable energy can the most catastrophic consequences of climate change be prevented," concluded Greenpeace Germany energy expert Susanne Neubronner. "The millions of people threatened by climate change or who are already suffering its impacts expect the G20 leaders to accelerate their efforts to reduce their emissions. This can only be achieved by ending the age of coal by a socially just phase-out."