Extinction Rebellion blocks entrance to METSTRADE superyacht forum
In what it describes as ‘a legal demonstration’ Extinction Rebellion demonstrators are demanding that both the superyacht industry and the Dutch government realise that there is no place for superyachts in a just transition to carbon neutral. Protesters have chained themselves to the barrier outside the event being hosted at METSTRADE in Amsterdam.
Extinction Rebellion says the number of superyachts currently cruising is estimated at more than 9,300, with a combined value of more than €57 billion. One superyacht with permanent crew, helipad, submarine and swimming pool emits more than 7,000 tons of CO2 every year: that is 1000x more than the average European, according to the organisation’s statement. Meanwhile, it says, the devastating effects of climate change are visible around the world, and people who have historically contributed least to global warming are being hit hardest.
This comes after, Massimo Perotti, CEO Sanlorenzo, opened METSTRADE as keynote speaker saying that, with regard to decarbonisation, “practically there is no problem for yachting.”
Perotti says wider industry data shows that carbon comes from maritime and says with leisure – including superyachts – the “real problem is public opinion. People understand we poison air and water because we build hospitals. But people will not accept the super rich poisoning air and water to enjoy life.
“Therefore the industry has to show we understand there is a problem and we try to fix it.”
“The very rich are celebrating holidays onboard their floating palaces while the world is on fire,” says Gijs Voskes of Extinction Rebellion. “For billionaires, the choice ‘my money or their lives’ seems to be an easy one.” The organisation states that by fulfilling the limitless desires of billionaires, the superyacht industry perpetuates climate injustice. Events like the superyacht forum with themes of ‘sustainability’ and ‘connection’ are intended to maintain the industry’s license to operate, given the increasingly visible impacts of the climate crisis and growing outrage over the growing wealth and emissions of the super rich.
Voskes says: “It cannot be justified that the very richest pay tens, sometimes even hundreds of millions, for the most extravagant superyachts, while most of us struggle with the fact that everything has become more expensive.” He believes no one needs a superyacht, by continuing to build these types of ships, the superyacht industry facilitates the obscene consumption of billionaires and multi-millionaires.
“We cannot trust an industry that has borderlessness as its banner to regulate itself. Government, do what is necessary to bring the excessively polluting elite back to reality, through taxes, regulations and outright bans. There is no place in a just transition for superyachts, private jets and other hyper-polluting billionaire toys.”
In September this year, activists from Scientist Rebellion and Extinction Rebellion Spain sprayed a $300m megayacht with biodegradable paint (for the second time), and unfurled a banner which read: “Billionaires should not exist.”
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