Kingsnorth and New Coal
Kingsnorth and New Coal
See pics from April 1st demo here.
There has been no new coal-fired power station in the UK for 30 years but now it looks like we are about to see the first of a whole new wave of coal-fired power stations, at Kingsnorth in Kent.
Coal produces more CO2 than oil or gas. Coal is much the biggest single fossil fuel source of greenhouse gases globally. It was only the "dash for gas" (away from coal) in the 90s which has allowed the UK to reach its 'Kyoto targets'. (In fact subsequent to the 'dash' and under the Labour government UK emissions of CO2 have actually risen.)
A justification used for new coal is that a new technology called CCS ("Carbon Capture and Storage") will allow us trap the carbon from burning coal before it can reach the atmosphere. This technology will be really great if anybody can make it work (safely) but so far unfortunately no-one has got anywhere near it (see here).
Building a whole new generation of coal-fired power stations represents a huge leap backwards - it will lock us into a massive increase in emissions for decades to come. This is just the kind of disastrous big investment decision that we really don't need if we want the UK to play any serious part in the global struggle to prevent the catastrophic destablisation of the world's climate. Its no use Brown giving us promises in the shape of the Climate Bill (see here) if he fails to adopt policies that give us any chance of reaching the emissions reductions targets, set by that Bill. It is currently coal, perhaps more than anything else that is wrecking the world's climate - in particular the huge expansion of coal-fired power stations in India and China. We are in no position to ask these countries to constrain their expansion into coal if we are doing it ourselves. This is a recipe for global catastrophe!
The new coal-fired power plant at Kingsnorth is planned by E-on, a giant German energy corporation. They have recently got planning permission from Medway Council and and now that application is sitting on Brown's desk awaiting approval. Greenpeace have uncovered correspondence between E-on and the government that suggests they are going to get it : see here.
To email John Hutton, the Business minister who is pressing for the new coal-fired power plant at Kingsnorth, and demand that there is a public enquiry before this is allowed to go ahead click here
For more info:
See what leading climate scientist and director of NASA's Goddard Institute James Hansen has to say about Kingsnorth and new coal here.
See what The World Developmemt Movement has to say about Kingsnorth here.
See what Christian Aid has to say about Kingsnorth here.