Socialist Worker

The government’s broken promises on climate change

Issue No. 2017

Leaving the camp to protest at Drax power station

Leaving the camp to protest at Drax power station

Right wing economist Frances Cairncross shocked climate campaigners last week by calling for the government to make adapting to the “inevitable consequences” of climate change a priority - not attempting to stop it.

In a speech to the science festival in Norwich, she said, “It’s extremely improbable that, whatever the rich countries do, we will be able to reduce concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It looks as though the technology doesn’t exist at this stage to produce a reduction.”

This is in direct opposition to climate policy put forward by the vast majority of scientists who agree that carbon emissions must be reduced significantly, and soon.

In the same week over 600 climate campaigners were taking part in a climate camp in Selby, north England. They were there to try and force the government to take action to reduce Britain’s carbon emissions.


Campaigners were far outnumbered by police, who were bused in from around Britain to protect Drax power station. The plant produces over 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year - the largest polluter in Europe according to campaigners.

For six days activists took part in workshops and events aimed at teaching people about climate change and what we can do to stop it. People of all ages took part in discussions on everything from cycling to nuclear power.

Campaigner John Sinha was at the camp. He told Socialist Worker, “The purpose of the camp was to highlight the inaction and broken promises of the Blair government to do anything about climate change.

“At the camp there were hundreds of seminars and workshops discussing topics such as alternative energy systems, consequences of global warming, skill sharing and how to organise events.

“The protest camp itself was the result of months of preparation by activists all over the country involving veterans from the roads protests of the mid 1990s to newer faces from the anti-capitalist movement.

“Activists also organised local meetings and stalls in Selby to explain the action, as well as talking to the workers and trade union representatives at the Drax power plant.”

On Thursday the whole camp marched on Drax power plant in an attempt to stop production.

John said, “One of the highlights of the day of mass action was the ‘Kids’ Block’ in which the activists and their children managed to march to the gates of Drax power station despite constant police harassment.

“The event marks a turning point for the growing environmental movement in this country which is prepared to go beyond words in tackling the root causes of climate change.”


On Wednesday of last week a small group of protesters blockaded the Hartlepool nuclear power station on Teesside.

One of the protesters said, “We’re blockading because we are opposed to the building of nuclear power stations.

“Hartlepool was to be decommissioned, but now with the government’s plans there will be a new power station here which means more contamination, more nuclear waste for the next generations to deal with and putting more lives at risk.”

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Sat 9 Sep 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2017
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