Socialist Worker

Join the march in Kent to stop the multinational companies polluting our planet

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2112

Environmental activists and trade unionists will demonstrate this Sunday 3 August against the proposed building of a new coal-fired power station by private company E.on at Kingsnorth in Kent.

The Campaign Against Climate Change (CACC) and Kingsnorth Climate Action Medway have called the demonstration.

A week long climate camp will follow the protest.

Kingsnorth will be the first new coal-fired power station to be built in Britain in 30 years, if it goes ahead.

Fiona Dear from CACC told Socialist Worker, “It’s really important that as many people as possible join the march to Kingsnorth.

“We need to be reducing our carbon emissions and we need to show that this is an issue that all sectors of society feel strongly about.”

Steve Wilkins is a member of Medway Trades Council in Kent, which has voted to back the march.

He told Socialist Worker, “It’s insane to start building more coal-fired power stations. Kingsnorth is important because it’s a test case – the government wants seven to be built across the country.

“People in Medway are concerned about climate change but also pollution – Medway already has one of the highest levels of asthma in the country and increasing pollution will not help.

“Trade unions need to campaign to make sure that workers don’t pay the price for fighting climate change.

“E.on wants to build the plant because coal is profitable. But when something else comes along that is more profitable it will lose interest. There is no security guaranteed for workers.”

Coal produces more carbon dioxide emissions than oil or gas and carbon dioxide is the main cause of global warming.

So the government talks of “clean coal” to justify building the new stations.

This ignores the fact that carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology – involving capturing the carbon produced in burning coal and storing it underground – does not yet exist and is untested.

If the technology does work, it is not expected to be operational until after 2020. But action on cutting emissions needs to start now.

The International Energy Agency estimates that for CCS to have any impact on climate change there needs to be 6,000 projects putting a million tons of carbon dioxide a year into the ground.

There is a huge gap between what is needed and what is being proposed.

Even if CCS was developed later, it is not guaranteed that the companies running the power stations would fit their plants with it.

Fitting CCS would double the cost of building a power station.

It’s likely that the energy companies would lobby hard to continue running power stations without it.

And given the government’s toadying to big business it’s likely that they would be allowed to.

Building new coal-fired power stations, without any technology to control the emissions, would lead to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

It would make a mockery of Gordon Brown’s aim to cut emissions by 60 percent by 2050.

We should campaign for the government to increase investment in clean, renewable energy instead of allowing the energy companies to carry on polluting the planet.

No New Coal march from Rochester to Kingsnorth. Assemble 12 noon, Rochester station, Sunday 3 August. For more information go to »

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Tue 29 Jul 2008, 18:10 BST
Issue No. 2112
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