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Environment

Greenpeace dumps coal outside Elysée ahead of Franco-German summit

media Greenpeace protesters outside the Elysée Palace Greenpeace / Pierre Baelen

Environment campaigners Greenpeace dumped five tonnes of coal in front of the French presidential palace ahead of a Franco-German ministerial meeting. They want a rapid Europe-wide conversion to renewable energy.

About 10 Greenpeace members arrived at the Elysée palace before 7.00am on Wednesday and dumped the coal, a highly polluting fuel widely used in Germany.

Their lorry was also carrying two containers containing 2,000 litres of tritium-polluted water taken off the Channel coast near the French nuclear waste plant at La Hague to protest at France's reliance on nuclear energy.

Greenpeace wants Europe to obtain 45 per cent of its energy through renewable sources, like wind and solar power, by 2030.

"There are no national targets, Karsten Smid of Greenpeace Germany, who was in Paris for the protest, told RFI. "There are some European targets, but not binding for renewable energy and the target is much too low. At the moment, it's 27 per cent on the European scale. We think we need binding targets on the national level and at least 45 per cent."

French and German leaders have to base energy policies in real investments and ambitious targets for renewables, he said.

"We want the German politicians to stop using coal and for the French government to no longer invest in nuclear energy. Hollande already said he wants to transition away from nuclear but that means investing in renewable energy, and we are missing this kind of policy."

French President François Hollande met German Chancellor Angela Merkel for an hour before the ministers' meeting.

They were expected to announce joint sanctions against the Ukrainian government following overnight violence in Kiev that cost at least 25 lives.

Merkel, who had a skiing accident in December, arrived on crutches.

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