Thursday, 23 April 2009

Glimmer is not good enough

I'm puzzled by Greenpeace's apparent welcome on Ed Milliband's decision to build coal power stations with only 25% carbon capture. Milliband has given the go ahead for up to four experimental plants that:

1. will emit more CO2 than current gas powered ones
2. will create electricity from a source that will run out, i.e. is not renewable
3. divert funds and effort from building renewable power and reducing energy consumption
4. will only have full carbon capture fitted if it works
5. are unlikely to be decommissioned if CCS doesn't work.

He is talking about two different types of CCS and we can only assume that one version might work or might work better than the other which is why there are to be two types of power station. So if one works will the other just continue as dirty coal? Will it be retro fitted with the other type? What if both types don't work? I can't see them being decommissioned.

So why are Greenpeace seemingly backing Milliband's decision? Their suggestion that he is showing a 'glimmer of leadership' may be true, but what the world needs is a bit more of a glimmer, we need a dazzling bright light.

If the government can spend hundreds of billions on buying banks, it can also spend enough to make the UK low consumption and renewable.


Anonymous said...


hopefully they'll be built in struggling former mining areas.

Paul Whaley said...

I get the feeling that Greenpeace is stuck between two horns of a dilemma.

On the one hand, bashing all these carbon initiatives for being as inadequate as they obviously are, risks putting people off doing anything at all (since if it appears impossible, the public won't expect politicians to mitigate climate change).

On the other hand, if they don't expose these initiatives as being inadequate, then public expectation will fall short of what needs to be done.

Obviously, they've gone for the former horn rather than the latter. It's not really good enough, definitely unimaginative, and possibly indicates that greenpeace really don't have an effective strategy.

Adam Hardy said...

Hi Stuart, it's interesting reading your blog and rare to find one on British politics rather than American.

I have no idea what Greenpeace are doing if it's not clutching at straws.

Ed Milliband basically said on a recent radio interview when talking against Lucas that the coal-fired powerstations will prove useful in a 'high carbon future' scenario, in the likely event that India and China build many coal-fired powerstations.

Unfortunately he wasn't asked by the presenter what use the 'high carbon future' scenario could bring civilisation as a policy. It is crass lack of leadership, in my opinion - in other words, he would have us follow India and China's lead.