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NO NEW COAL without 100% CCS
Jean Lambert MEP (Green Party, London) addressed demonstrators (see photo left) as well as Joss Garman from Greenpeace.
The government's decision to ban new unabated coal-fired power stations represents a big move for the government in a green direction, and we congratulate them for that. But building new coal-fired power stations without 100% CCS (or close) is a recipe for disaster. Does anyone think the government will close down these new power plants if full scale CCS is found to be unworkable or hopelessly uneconomic?
And even in the - arguably rosy case scenario - that the four power stations with 20-25% CCS are successfully upgraded to 100% after 15 years they will still emit up to 275m tonnes of CO2 -around 50% of the UK's annual emissions. The latest science makes it clear that we cannot afford those kinds of levels of emissions if we are to have any half decent chance of preventing catastrophic climate change (see for example www.climatesafety.org). We cannot afford to get it just half right in the fight against climate change. The government must be told there should be no new coal-fired power stations unless they can be guaranteed to have 100% CCS from the start.
This is also about the kind of lead we're giving to other nations in the run-up to Copenhagen. We should be using CCS to reduce emissions from existing coal-fired power stations, not as an excuse to build more. This could just encourage a rash of new coal build around the world on the basis of some vague promise about CCS in the future.
The demonstration featured 2 messages for the government - one on a green poster to congratulate them on banning unabated coal, the other on a carbon-black one - to demand that they go the whole way and ban new coal without 100% CCS.