Friday, July 11, 2008

Smoke Stack Lightning

"Queensland Energy Minister Geoff Wilson says he is shocked by the behaviour of Greenpeace activists at the Swanbank power station, west of Brisbane this morning." - ABC News

Minister Geoff, the humanitarian, is also very worried about the protesters safety, saying of the smoke stack they have climbed that "The structure itself is over 37 years old, there may be some issues with the integrity of it" - which raises the obvious question; apart from the damage to the environment, is this a structure that has been threatening the safety of workers without a peep, yet merits concern when someone makes a point using it?
Geoff also thinks that 4 people making a potentially dangerous point is "unnecessary and irresponsible and extreme", possibly more "unnecessary and irresponsible" than continuing with coal technology in the face of climate disaster

In other environment news some clever scientists have tinkered with and found a very promising (and from what i can tell, quite surprisingly basic) alteration of conventional solar technology, which may see solar become comparable in price to fossil fuel energy. For more, click here.

It seems that Greenpeace aren't the only members of the cast worried about impending climate disaster. From yesterday (10th) till the 15th at Newcastle there is a Camp For Climate Action going on, and i wish i had heard about it's awesomeness earlier.
Hopefully it is not too late for some of you to make it along (look at me talking like i actually have readers). The way it is being structured is very refreshing, and i recommend checking out their website, if for nothing other than interests sake.
There is planned a mass disobedience/train blockade on Sunday, to quote; "If we leave solving climate change to business and government, they will fail. Writing letters, lobbying, and changing our light bulbs is not working. We need to take action ourselves, engage in civil disobedience and non-violent direct action to prevent the expansion of the fossil fuel industries that are endangering life on earth. When laws are unjust or are destroying our future, people of conscience have a responsibility to act. It’s just as true now as it was in the 1700’s when Irish politician Edmund Burke said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”

Oh! By the way, in case this isn't obvious - this is the first post on here. Hope you've enjoyed it, and hope there will be more to follow.



Liam said...

Also worth considering is this open letter from David Douglass, a coal miner and unionist.

"Our own demands would be two fold, firstly we want to see the opening of
'clean coal technology stations'. Yes the technology exists and had done
since the 50s but nobody was interested in applying it. There are at least
two methods, but the latest one is carbon capture, thats not the end of
the story but here isn't the place to elaborate. Enough to say its not a
con, it does produce massive savings in CO2 emissions, plus the bi product
of the Hatfield Main system is hydrogen and energy conservation. Which are
added bonuses on the carbon capture.

Secondly we want to see international ('fair trade' if you like )
standards applied to all imported coal and a level playing field in terms
of health and safety, conditions, hours and union recognition . Countries
with mass slaughter in the collieries should not be allowed to dump coal
here at the expense of workers in their countries and unemployment for
miners here.

65 million Tonnes of coal is burned in Britain each year only about 18
million of it is mined here, despite the fact that British coal is the
cheapest deep mined coal in the world. It is brought here in part because
rather than fit wipers and efficient filters to all power stations, they
import coal which produces less sulphur and ash and carbon when burned.
Instead they burn the miners at source.

There is about 500 years of coal in Britain, it can provide a breathing
space, to develop renewable sources, certainly solar, yes tidal, though
not destructive wind estates which are laying siege to the bits of free
land and crags and moorland we have left.

The governments main plan is and always been to make Britain Nuclear
dependant. That is why they closed down the mines in the first place.
Climate Camp must be very careful not to cross on the wrong side of the
barricade on this issue. Not to be used to promote Nuclear energy by
making the biggest focus coal .

The spokesperson at Drax this month said there was NO PLACE for coal in
Britain's energy supply ! Thats fairly final. The impact of that
statement, coming as it does with a middle class voice and total
indifference to the situation in the coal communities, is unlikely to
strike any cords this side of the tracks.

I understand you intend to shut down Kingsnorth Power Station in August. I
don't know this station in particular but I was informed this was a
station which was using clean coal technology ? Is that not right ?
whether it is or not we have to ask why coal ?.

Coal is not the biggest producer of CO2 its about the fourth and thats
with unfettered uncontrolled emissions from the third world in particular.
It could be massively reduced by demanding all coal which comes here meets
minimum standards of health and safety and union rights. That the
exporting countries themselves adopt clean coal technologies. Such a
tighter focus would be entirely more credible and principled than simply
saying 'close down all coal power stations, don't build new ones, and
exterminate the last of the miners and their communities'.

I cant say I'm keen on entering the lions den of the Climate Camp as a
former miners leader and life long coal miner. I'm tempted to say I think
we speak differant languages. However I shall pencil this is my calender
and see if I can attend along with any of the NUM leadership in order that
we can put our point view across and hopefully get you to adopt a more
balanced approach to the question of power generation and working class
expectations and demands.

You have my permission to put this letter on the website.

The World For The Workers

David Douglass