Climate Camp – Clean Coal Counter Demo

The Climate Camp are calling for Kingsnorth Power Station in Kent to be shut between 4th Aug and 12 Aug by by non violent Direct Action.

Interestingly, a trade union counter demonstration is being mounted for 4th August, that will call for the development of Clean Coal Technology, workers control of the mining and energy industry, and a defence of the NUM and energy unions.

The British coal industry now has less than 3000 miners left, and the NUM organisd a Clean Coal conference in Sheffield 2007, they wish Clean Coal technology to be developed as a way of offsetting the drive for expanded nuclear energy production.

This is an interesting question.

India and China are NOT going to give up mining coal…… and China in particular mainly relies upon Coal buring electricity generation. The single biggest opportunity for combating global warming would be to develop Clean Coal Technology for use in China

Coal is also a useful alternative to nuclear energy – where there are huge risks of asscoaited nuclear weapons proliferation: risks of military attack; risks of meltdown; risks of nuclear waste storage, etc.

This is an issue where there is probably a need for an open minded debate.

73 comments on “Climate Camp – Clean Coal Counter Demo

  1. Yes coal burning with carbon capture has possibilities, but the
    technology is as yet unproven, and new power station at Kingsnoth
    will not have the facility. The government approach to developing
    the technology is to offer a prize of £10,000 to someone who can
    demonstrate it on a small model. Hardly, very impressive.

    Mike777
    Green Socialism @ Red Pepper
    http://forums.redpepper.org.uk/

  2. Jim Monaghan on said:

    As a member of Coalfields Solidarity, a branch based around a union branch of open-cast coal miners, we support the development of clean coal technology.

    The science is as developed as many of the current green energy proposals and could be implemented easily with investment in a publicly owned national energy industry.

    But it is a wider question in the short term as there are very real proposals to seriously cut the carbon emissions from Scottish coal.

    Currently we dig about 8 megatonnes in Scotland and burn about 6 mt at longannet and cockenzie. But, we export 6.5 mt (mainly to england) and import 4.5 mt (mainly from colombia and russia and others).

    Investment in upgrading the longannet station could see scottish coal being burned in scotland, no import, no export, a reduction in output (extraction) and a 20% mix with biomass (trees grown in restored open cast sites).

    Currently there is a problem to do with sulphur content that makes it difficult to use scottish coal only, in scottish stations.

    But we could campaign to shut coal stations without having any effect on global carbon emissions if coal extracted in the Uk is shipped elsewhere to be burned. Or alternatively, we could close our mines only for the stations to burn imported coal.

    We believe that our proposals can cut scotland’s emissions dramatically by extracting 40% less coal and by burning 20% less as well as by cutting down on the carbon cost of import/export itself.

    This can only be done by public ownership as it would require a cut in hours without loss in pay, equivalent in cost to roughly the coal-operators profits in Scotland (from extraction).

    Currently the average open-cast worker is paid less than #8 per hour and works a 60 hour week.

    I will send our paper to this blog when it is finished later this summer.

    Miners DO NOt support coal at any cost, we realise the implications of our industry and believe we have socialist solutions. We know that our short-term solutions are not good enough for the long term but belive that full investment in the industry can lead to reducing virtuall all the carbon cost of coal.

    BTW, most miners are now in open casts and are not represented by the NUM who are given too much say in coal matters by the bosses and who have too close a relationship to the coal owners/operators.

    Open cast workers are mainly TGWU/UNITE members, not NUM.

    Our experience of the NUm in Scotland is constantly disrupting workers intiatives in cahpoots with the bosses. In Scotland our TG branch has 600 members the NUM represent 33 workers in Scotland coalfields. Yet we both get 2 delegates at negotiations as do COSA who represent management staff (or at least some of them).

    We are currently in a situation where NUM and NUM/COSA can outvote us in talks, and they invariably do, to side with the coal owners.

    The situation is different in England where there are still deep mines and planning regulations have reduced open-casts.

  3. Graham Day on said:

    A further point as I understand it is that much of the coal reserves currently being actively mined worldwide are not particularly efficient as a fuel source, e.g. brown coal. It compares unfavourably to Welsh anthracite, for example, which I believe is one of the most fuel efficient coal sources worldwide.

    Jim Monaghan, as far as I’m concerned anyone who is mining coal, whether deep or open-cast, should be in the NUM. The fact that some coal miners are currently in the TGWU demonstrates the savvy of employers, in using the factional interests of particular workers to their own advantage.

    Of course, who knows, the NUM could be next up to join our happy UNITE family…

  4. paddy garcia on said:

    Fucking middle class greenies, would rather have us back in the dark ages with oil lamps and horse and carts. They don’t give a toss about workers jobs, after all if things get tight for them there’s always mummy and daddy to bail them out.

  5. prianikoff on said:

    I don’t have an open mind on this question.
    I wouldn’t ever demonstrate against a coal fired power station in Kent.
    It would be like pissing on the graves of Kent pits.
    So I’ll be supporting the trade union demo.

    It also should be arguing for the government to invest in reopening British coal mines to supply new CCS plants.
    Syngas generation and carbon capture and storage may have their problems, but Hatfield has already reopened through Russian investment.
    There are plans for not only a CCS pilot, but cogeneration of heat and power there.
    This could be done more effectively by renationalising the coal and power generation industries. Kingsnorth should go ahead on that basis.

    At present Britain produces 17 million tonnes of coal, mainly for electricity generation, while 43 million tonnes are imported
    All of this could be produced domestically (not to mention some of the £120 million tonnes used in the EC)
    The only reason that it isn’t is because labour is cheaper and working conditions are worse in Russia and South Africa.

    If we want to displace C02 from power generation, then the way to go is investing in Wind and Tidal power, upgrading the electrical grid to connect it all and ensuring that there is enough reserve capacity to cope with the variablility of renewables. In Britain that will probably need to be via gas turbines and coal and creating a dynamic grid, with autonomous elements. The only other realistic technology is nuclear power. I don’t fancy that.

    Chinese and US coal production are the biggest sources of world C02 emissions.
    The US South West could produce vast amounts of solar powered electricity, but its not what oil and coal companies do.
    They like putting fences around resources and turning them into commodities – but that’s hard with sunshine.
    So they have thrown a spanner in the works.

    Amazingly, the US goverment has just declared a 2 year halt on development of solar power stations while their “ecological impact” is investigated
    This sounds suspiciously like a wrecking operation by Exxon, Peabody and their trained chimps in Washington. Or am I just being ungenerous?

  6. Adamski on said:

    #4 I have sympathy for your position, but at the same time we have to take on trade union bureaucrats who use arguments over jobs and the economy to support frankly reactionary positions against the planet.

    For example, in Wales and probably elsewhere the T&G/Unite lobby for nuclear power and more coal-fired power stations. Indeed, the head of Unite in Wales who is in many ways on the Labour Left made a speech where he talked about resisting the environmental lobby.

    The union bureaucrats pose the question of nuclear power in terms of jobs, but the reality is that Germany shows that renewable energy can actually generate more jobs than nuclear power!

    The jobs con is being used in Wales by the Leader of Plaid to justify his support for a new nuclear power station. It has been ably refuted by local campaigners:
    http://www.stop-wylfa.org/jobs_2.html.en

    The general consensus among left wing environmentalists is while in the short-term clean coal technology has a transitional role to play in the energy-mix, long term we have to move towards renewables.

    There has been a debate on this in South Wales, for obvious reasons – it was once a massive mining area – with many people like Arthur Scargill when he visits and Tyrone O’Sullivan (Tower Colliery) being cheerleaders for coal.

  7. Adamski on said:

    “I wouldn’t ever demonstrate against a coal fired power station in Kent.
    It would be like pissing on the graves of Kent pits.
    So I’ll be supporting the trade union demo.”

    I have to say that here, when a couple of new pits were being opened, they were interviewing former miners who said, ‘I’d never go down there again and wouldn’t want my kids too either’. Re-opening the pits would have meant something in the 90s but from people I have met, while whole communities were devestated by the destruction of the mining industry, people don’t want to go back to mining.

  8. Jim Monaghan on said:

    “Jim Monaghan, as far as I’m concerned anyone who is mining coal, whether deep or open-cast, should be in the NUM.”

    Graham, the NUM are opposed to open-cast mining so it wouldnt make sense to join a union who want to close you down.

    Most of the workers in open casts come from other similar big engineering projects and are drivers of diggers and dump trucks, so many already come into the industry with TGWU membership (construction).

    I do realise the the NUM might join UNITE, UNITE want their hands on the funds. But it would be a setback to us as we have made many advances in recent years and every time the NUM stood in the way of those advances. For NUM in Scotland read Labour Party, there is no separation.

    My comrades have taken a virtually non-unionised workforce and built a TGWU branch that has hundreds of members, shop stewards and safety officers in every site, a full time convenor, fought back against an industry that was openly exploiting workers and sacking them on a whim and now have our sights set on the rest of the industry, still hostile to the unions.

    The NUM, have cosied up to the bosses in that time, some even work for the bosses as a sideline, some are contractors, all of them are active labour party members who work alongside Labour councillors that are shareholders in the coal companies. They don’t have the workers interests at heart.

    It may be different in England where you still have deep mines, and open-casts are restricted by planning laws more than in Scotland.

    But the TGWU Scottish Coal branch has had a very succesful few years, with a political trade union, and it would not be an advance for us to join the NUM.

    I suspect that if the NUM join UNITE in Scotland, the Scottish Coal bosses would be popping the champagne corks and start replacing our convenor and stewards instantly.

    Our current problem with the NUM and NUM/COSA is that collectively they have four delegates to our two, despite us having 8 times their combined membership, and both are recommending, without consultation with their wokers, acceptance of a shit deal that we oppose.

    Coalfields Solidarity is made up of members of the Scottish coal branch and others like me who joined their fight in recent years, we are spread across Scotland and are based in Cumnock.

    Anyone who knows anything about NUM history will know that Cumnock is an NUM town. But we dont need romantic links with the past, we need union leaders who will take on bosses in an industry where workers do 60 hour weeks, with the first 39 hours being at just over 7 pounds an hour. The NUM think that 2.3% increase on that is a good deal. Thankfully the Scottish Coal TGWU branch don’t and Coalfields Solidarity support them.

  9. Graham Day on said:

    Thank you Jim Monoghan for a perfect demonstration of sectionalism. Which pit (open cast or otherwise) are you working in?

  10. Jim Monaghan on said:

    I dont work in an open-cast. There are no “pits” in Scotland Graham. I am a member of a political organisation based around a union branch of open-cast workers. They are not pits as such, they are quarries and the workers who worked quarries now quarry coal which is why the historical development of the open-cast workers union representation is in construction not mining.

    It isn’t a split from the NUM its a separate development that the NUM have come to late as they opposed all open casts in favour of re-opening deep mines.

    We believe, unlike the NUM, that it would be good for all “miners” to be represented together. In most countries that is what happens. Britain is unique in separating the two and the NUM support that separation.

    My post was not a demonstration of sectionalism, it was a real description of developments in Scotland’s coalfields in recent years.

    The people who formed and developed the Scottish Coal branch were already TGWU members. The NUM had no officials or branches in the industry.

    There was never any decision to make re what union to join. But since the developemnt of trade unions in the industry the NUM have appeared again, trying to recruit members to their union and backing the bosses every time. I would be much better if they backed the workers demands but we cant help that.

    The former NUM members in the towns where we are based fully support the branch and are quite disgusted by their union’s attitude to open cast workers.

  11. Graham Day on said:

    Yeah, Jim Monghan, you’re not a feckin miner. End of story.

    You’re a trot sectarian, who looks to split the working class at every opportunity, and who (as we see) would rather attack another union than work to build solidarity.

  12. PhilW on said:

    Adamski said: “The general consensus among left wing environmentalists is while in the short-term clean coal technology has a transitional role to play in the energy-mix, long term we have to move towards renewables.”

    As a left-wing environmentalist, I don’t agree with this. I don’t think CCS has a future for several reasons:

    1) It is very energy intensive itself, increasing fuel consumption by up to 40% for coal.
    2) It can’t have a large impact on GHG emissions: “Vaclav Smil, an energy expert at the University of Manitoba, has estimated that capturing and burying just 10 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted over a year from coal-fire plants at current rates would require moving volumes of compressed carbon dioxide greater than the total annual flow of oil worldwide — a massive undertaking requiring decades and trillions of dollars. “Beware of the scale,” he stressed.”
    3) The technology is not mature – less so than most renewable energy technologies – and is extremely complicated – far more than a fossil-fuel based power station, which is a technology nearly 150 years old. If amines are used for the carbon dioxide capture, I wouldn’t like to live that near to the power station – or work in it (smell of rotten fish).
    4) Implemented under capitalism, it will double electricity prices (EON spokesperson on Radio 4, last week, or the week before).

    Basically, I don’t think that socialists should be advocates of any particular technology to deal with GHG emissions. That’s not to say none of them will be useful. Like all questions, it is fundamentally a political one – about the way capitalist society is organised and forces us to use excessive amounts of energy.

  13. jim johnson on said:

    Part of the reason the left gets tangled up in this issue is its ridiculous attitude to Nuclear Power.
    Its safer and cleaner than Oil or Coal.

    The French example should be followed, its not even an issue for the French Left.
    Neither should it be here.

  14. Jim Monaghan on said:

    FFS! Graham, that is very unfair.

    I didnt claim to be a miner and, when there were mines in Cumnock, I was one the very few in my family who wasn’t.

    Since when did you have to be a miner to have an opinion of unions in mining? Since when did you have to be a miner to organise politically with miners.

    You just don’t have any knowledge of the Scottish open cast industry or you wouldnt make those claims.

    There was no split, no division, it wasnt a split from the NUM or a breakaway union from the NUM. It was open cast workers organising in the union that they were members of, where the NUM didnt operate, didnt recruit and had no history.

    The NUM represent a few workers, mostly engineers, and as such get involved at pay negotiation time alongside the larger workforce who are, in union terms, contruction workers (dump truck drivers, hydraulics workers, general labourers etc).

    As I said, I, and the comrades in the union branch, would welcome a joint approach to negotiations and a united union. But the reality on the ground where we are is that the NUM joining UNITE will be a setback as they will replace the leaders of the union branch who have made such advances with NUM officials, who have a vested interest in the coal industry.

    It’s simply where we are, I didnt invent the situation or the conditions, they developed that way.

    I cant help your lack of knowledge and your belief that dumper drivers in quarries should leave the TGWU and join the NUM if they move from driving aggregates to driving coal.

    I dont think that the NUm trying to recruit workers from another union woyld be very helpful but I do thuink that NUM joining UNITE would be. It would set us back, but overall it would be better for the union.

    As I said, it is different in England where the NUM do take on private coal operators, but in Scotland that isn’t the case.

    You are not the only one. recently, when two of our comrades died in an accident at work, the BBC news had quotes and interviews with NUM officials, even though the workers who died were TGWU members. It is a common mistake that ‘open cast mines’ because of the word ‘mine’, are represented by the NUM.

  15. Anonymous on said:

    By the way, deaths in the nuclear industry run at 2-4 per year.
    Around 8,000 coal miners died in mines last year.
    And god knows how many deaths the biofuel idiots will have on their charge sheet by the end of the year.

  16. Jim Monaghan on said:

    how do people die in the nuclear industry. I take it that 2-4 is the same thing as 3?

  17. Jim Johnson on said:

    It varies by different estimates Jim.
    (some include for example someone crushed by a fork ift in the grounds of a power station in the stats, some do not)

    I could have put it at 2.9 if it made you feel better.

  18. Larry R on said:

    1) Nuclear waste puts the burden on people thousands of years in the future. Nice and convenient for the politicians that is. But we still can not deal with the waste. Last year my job involved working with the nuclear waste disposal industry and they admit they can not deal with the existing waste, let alone the waste generated by the expansion of the industry.

    2)Big business is looking to a new coal boom. But ‘clean coal’ at the moment is a myth. So do we support some more jobs now, at the expense of the future of civilisation caused by climate chaos? By that argument you would support building concentration camps or nuclear weapons as a source of employment.

    When I stood with the NUM in the 1980’s and 1990’s, that was to defend a powerful source of working class resistance. It was not to festishise the coal industry in itself as some people here seem to be doing now. Capital wanted to smash the NUM – once that job was done, they always had the option of restarting the coal industry for profit, with a weakened and tame poodle NUM. Maybe that’s happening now.

    3) The task for socialists is to unite workers, trades unions and the environmental movement. We need to draw up a programme for workers rights and sustainable energy supply, not set these groups against each other, like this counter-demo does. Alternatively it will be possible for trades unionists to address the climate camp and have a productive debate.

    This demo for clean coal raises some good demands – nationalisation, a planned energy supply. Yes, thats partly the way forward. But as a counter-demo it also will appear to support the agenda of capital in its search for profits at the expense of the future of a viable human civilisation.

    4) The police and media will as usual attack the young climate campers. They will use the Trade union demo as propaganda. And the NUM members will find the police and media on their side – will they feel uneasy?

    This thread on this blog shows how the old fashioned economistic left can not show the way out of the impasse.

  19. PhilW on said:

    I totally agree with Larry R… his is a political approach to the issue, rather than a “technofixing” one. Here’s an example of technofix, in this week’s New Scientist. They’ve just found that nitrogen trifluoride is a potent GHG, 17,000 times more powerful than CO2. Current production of 4,000 tonnes is equivalent to 67 million tonnes of CO2. The article says the gas is used in cleaning equipment for chemical vapour deposition. It’s used to make LCD screens (TVs and monitors). I suspect that it is also used to make some types of solar PV panels. There’s a nice irony for you. Production is going to double next year. Toshiba is looking to use an alternative – Fluorine, one of the most reactive and dangerous common elements on earth (look it up).

    It would be good if Andy started a thread on nuclear power at some point.

  20. prianikoff on said:

    #21 Larry R “When I stood with the NUM in the 1980’s and 1990’s, that was to defend a powerful source of working class resistance. It was not to festishise the coal industry in itself as some people here seem to be doing now.”

    Well since the Tories were intent on shutting it down you were, in your terminology, “fetishising” the coal industry
    The NUM couldn’t have and didn’t continue to be a “powerful source of working class resistance” without it!

    LR “We need to draw up a programme for workers rights and sustainable energy supply, not set these groups against each other, like this counter-demo does”
    Don’t have any problem with that, or your critique of the nuclear waste disposal problem either.

    But why blame the unions for setting groups against each other on this issue?

    When have the Greens or F.O.E shown any sensitivity to the NUM’s position whatsoever?

    When have they even attempted to talk to them about the issue?

    Certainly not over the DRAX demonstration and evidently not over this one.
    Precisely the reason why I never was happy with the Kingsnorth demo and am now on the side of the union counter demonstration.

    So who exactly is being divisive? Miners who want to renationalise the industry and employ less polluting technology to produce the coal and generate the power?
    Or those who adopt a position of total hostitlity to the use of coal, but don’t have a coherent position on alternatives?

    The argument that this is “economistic” or it’s just a “techno-fix” doesn’t hold water.
    All of the government’s initiatives on reducing C02 are based on private investment and are hugely biased towards multinational corporations.
    Even down to the production of Wind Turbines, which are almost all manufactured by Siemens in Germany, G.E. in the US and Vesta in Denmark.
    The US corporation Fluor, Shell, etc… all have their fingers in the pie and are all capable of sabotaging a serious move towards renewable energy.

    The one thing that a British goverment won’t do is renationalise coal, expand domestic production, or allow it to be organised by the NUM.
    What activity there is has mainly been due to the escalating price of oil.

    I’m totally supportive of the scientific arguments on anthropogenic Co2 emissions causing global warming and meeting targets on their reduction.
    How that will be achieved is a technical question – unless you take the position that we have to support deindustrialisation and a reduction in food production.

    Unions have a tradition of taking positions on these questions – from coal face workers, when it comes to health and safety issues through to alternative plans of production.
    That’s the way to resolve the glaring contradiction represented by trade unionists and Greens demonstrating against each other.

  21. Jim Johnson on said:

    And the idiot parts of the anti science left has always shafted the Nuclear workers.
    Come on Andy, stick up a post on Nuclear/coal/gas/oil/wind

  22. paddy garcia on said:

    Thread on nuclear power would be a really good idea. Personally I don’t have a problem with it as long as the waste can be managed safely and, along with other forms of energy generation, it is under workers control.
    As far as nuclear weapons are concerned don’t really have any problems with a socialist society having them to defend itself from imperialist attack. I strongly support countries such as Cuba, Iran and Venezuela, for example, having nuclear weapons if they choose to do so.

  23. paddy garcia on said:

    It seems that in recent years parts of the left have been poisoned with fluffy middle class green pacifistic ideas which is taking us backwards.
    We used to stand for progress, using technology for the common good interested of for private profit and a prosperous lifestyle for all whether in Britain or Bangladesh. Its time to go back to that instead of pandering to middle class hippies in climate camps who are generally drawn from the more priviliged layers of their class and have absolutely no interest in orienting to the working class, if face a lot of these people are openly hostile to the working class. Where where they during the miners strike? Condemning them for being backward neanderthals thats where they were. Even though these events do attract some good activits most of them are priviliged tossers.

  24. paddy garcia on said:

    “for the common good interested of for private profit”

    Should read: “for the common good instead of for private profit”

  25. Matt S on said:

    “Where where they during the miners strike? Condemning them for being backward neanderthals thats where they were.”

    Given the average age of people involved in the Climate Camp, I suspect that most of them were just starting primary school, actually.

    Matt

  26. paddy garcia on said:

    I am aware of that, meant middle class green types in general. They have been around for quite some time. I remember some of those types back then saying those very things.
    As far as these climate camps are concerned, I remember the recent Heathrow one, there was absolutely no labour movement participation there, no attempt to have dialogue or seek support from the unions at LHR which as far as I know is quite a well unionised place. Think there was a baggage handlers strike at the same time as the camp, don’t think many at the camp were aware of it let alone go to the picket lines to support them. Their general attitude is that workers who work in aviation are part of the problem.

  27. I completely agree that any counter demonstration will be used by the media, police and the companies to advance their own interests. Why not spend the week taking part in the camp and working through these issues instead?

  28. Adamski on said:

    #29 Two union reps from our local organisation attended the Heathrow Climate Camp and were very impressed, particularly with how the campaign linked up with the local residents campaign in the area:
    http://cardiffrespect.blogspot.com/2007/09/heathrow-climate-camp-2007.html

    Paddy Garcia refuses to acknowledege that some trade unions particularly Unite have down-right reactionary environmental policices supporting the sectional and short-term interests of a group of workers against the interests of humanity in tackling climate change (which will impact on workers and poor people worst)

    The way forward is not to attack environmentalists, but to make the unions take up the issue of ecology, and also build an environmental trade union movement in the rank and file, we need to build a working class environmental movement by calling for measures such as renationalisation of the railways, free housing insulation (which will lower people’s fuel bills), curbing corporate power & making the rich pay to solve the crisis.

    Initiatives such as the Campaign against Climate Change Trade Union Conference are hugely important.
    http://cardiffrespect.blogspot.com/2008/02/question-of-social-justice.html

    This so-called counter-demonstration will only serve to re-inforce environmentalists prejudices that the unions are antienvironmental rather than helping to build what is needed – a working class environmental movement.

    There is also a lot of scepticism among environmentalists about clean-coal technology. What we need is a transfer to renewable energy.

  29. jacqui on said:

    Medway TUC have been approached by the organisers of the camp at Kingsnorth, asking for us to support the camp. Last ordinary meeting we had a girl from Campaign Against Climate change (which we are affiliated to) and a lad who is a GMB member, an LRC and AWL activist and involved in organising the camp at the power station.

    At the next meeting, they are both due to come back and debate with someone from Amicus Unite, who are the recognised union at the power station.

    To be honest, we are not sure whether or not to support the camp.

    One the one hand, the expansion will provide jobs in a pretty run down area.

    Despite the aims of the camps organisers to shut down the power station peacefully, there is no guarantee that it will be peaceful. The local community (who are pretty isolated) have had a lot of propaganda from the police against the camp (they will be invaded by people from london) and who knows what could kick off, especially if the oranisers of the camp don’t make there case amoungst the locals out on the Ilse of Grain. As a side issue (or perhaps not) supporting it could risk splitting the trades council down the middle.

    On the other hand, it is still very unclear as to how much the expansion will pollute the area. Behind all that it has opened up a debate on the trades council about engery sources and engery planning.

    I take the points about middle class kids and hippies. It is one of the things which has infuriated me personally about the environmental movement since I first got involved with socialist politics and trade unions. None the less, the campaign organisers, who surprise surprise do seem to be middle class kids from varying political persuasions have approached the trade union movement locally and do care about what the trade union movement has to say. The trades council has also been invited to hold a plenary session at the camp. and to be honest what that camp could do with is an injection of trade unionism and maybe even some class politics!

    I can’t possibly say whether or not we will support the camp, counter demo on neither. Personally, I think the trades council needs to adopt a clear but simple policy on supporting renewable energy, acknowledging the reality of climate change, calling for nationalisation of the energy industries under democratic workers control and long term socialist planning to support the environment. It may be unlikely that all of the points are adopted in full by the trades council.

    Might I add that the lack of well publicised and well understood position from the TUC and complete lack of communication between the campaign organisers, the local community and the unions directly involved, has meant that e have spent a lot of time talking (and in some cases shouting) at eachother about an issue which should have taken 20 minutes in a meeting to discuss out, come to an agreement and move on to other pressing matters

    Eg: local activists under attack from the employers and the union, the establishment of a support group for families of heroin addicts and that small matter of political representation. Instead we are rowing about whether or not to support hippies in a field.

  30. Danny on said:

    I’m involved with the climate camp, but the following are just my personal thoughts and opinions. If anyone else involved in the camp is reading this and wants to disagree, please feel free!

    This is currently a major debate within the climate camp network. Many of us involved in the camp are aware that there hasn’t been enough dialogue with coal workers, and we’re very keen to talk to the unions about all of these issues. Ultimately, we should all be on the same side here – it’s the same rampant neoliberal economic system that is screwing over workers AND the natural systems we rely on for our survival. We all need to work together – environmentalists, trades unions, and everybody else who cares about the future of humanity – in order to figure out how we make a socially just transition from this suicidal, dog-eat-dog fossil-fueled society to something saner, fairer and more sustainable.

    No-one involved in the camp is pretending to have all the solutions to these really tough problems. If you look at the timetable for the camp at Kingsnorth (http://climatecamp.org.uk/themes/ccamptheme/files/Workshops08.pdf), you’ll see that there are several discussions scheduled about energy, the climate and workers’ rights. Anyone who wants to make a positive contribution is welcome to attend – in fact, David Douglass from the NUM is going to be speaking at one of these sessions, about the Miners’ Strike. I for one am looking forward to learning more about this issue, and hope that other (current and ex) energy industry workers are able to bring their experience, knowledge and ideas to the camp. We need to shift the UK away from fossil fuels, towards renewable energy sources – and we need to do it in the fairest way possible, particularly with respect to people’s jobs and livelihoods. The involvement of the unions and the workers will be absolutely vital in working out what this “fair transition” could look like.

    I wouldn’t join a march for Clean Coal Technology – even the industry admit that it won’t exist on any useful scale for at least 15 years, far too late to help prevent runaway climate change. However, if there was a march for “workers control of the mining and energy industry, and a defence of the NUM and energy unions”, I would be right there beside them. I believe that an energy industry with greater workers’ control would be far more likely to make a just transition to sustainability than an energy industry run purely in the interests of global capital.

    For anyone who wants to come to the camp and get involved in this debate, all of the details are available at http://www.climatecamp.org.uk.

    Best wishes,

    Danny

  31. Millie on said:

    Guys, we can keep debating this till the water rises above our knecks.

    What chance we have to save civilised life is, i’m sorry, threatened with coal until CCS is ready. Even the industry say CCS is 15 years off.

    We need just transition friends and we need to create that now. I think the climate camp is a chance to explore what that means. Come food shortages, droughts and extreme weather d’think the state is gunna give a sh-t about workers rights?

  32. paddy garcia on said:

    Thanks Danny and Jacqui for those interesting and well argued points. Is there a problem in supporting both protests? People form one side approaching the other showing support and solidarity and discussing the common ground? That would be a move forward.
    Its not the principle of green politics that I have an issue with, my problem is that I find most of the people involved in it a total turn off for the reasons that have been mentioned before.
    Personally I don’t drive, recycle rubbish when there is access to recycling facilities, try to use local shops and services instead of relying on chain stores and supermarkets, buy clothes, records, CDs, DVDs, stereo equipment second hand where possible, use low energy lightbulbs, etc, etc.
    In fact I know that I do more for the environment and against multi national capitalism and globalisation than a lot of those “green” types that I know. How many of those middle climate camp hippies will be driving there?

  33. prianikoff on said:

    I can appreciate the scepticism about Carbon Capture and Storage, because I share it:

    For one thing, it relies on the existence of geological formations where C02 can be pumped deep underground and trapped there, not just for a century or two, but more or less permanently!

    Pumping it to the bottom of the ocean and hoping it stays there is just a form of dumping.

    So far there’s limited evidence from a few schemes in the North Sea to go on.
    Should a large volume of C02 leak back into the atmosphere over time, the whole operation will be a costly waste of time.

    If it happens suddenly in one large belch, you better hope the sequestration site is well away from human populations, because if not, hundreds of thousands will suffocate. (think of the Lake Nyos incident on a much bigger scale)

    On the other hand, we all use natural gas (Methane), which is a highly potent GHG and it seeps out of coal seams all the time.
    So it’s not unreasonable to pump C02 into depleted natural gas and coal fields.
    Insisting on CCS would also make renewables highly competitive with fossil fuels in electrical generation.

    Fossil fuel companies would quite like to involve themselves in CCS schemes to milk the government, flush out depleted oil reserves and obtain methane on the cheap.

    So it’s very important to stop them taking the money and running.
    But is that an argument for not improving the efficiency of coal powered electrical generation by building a new generation of plant?
    I think not.

    Renewables on their own can’t meet the shortfall if coal and natural gas aren’t there to back them up.

    The NUM have been arguing for several years for a strategy of investing in new, efficient coal fired power plants and increasing renewable energy simultaneously.
    CCS is one possible way to do this – there are others.

    Unless you support a big expansion of nuclear, this is the most realistic way to cut C02 emissions in the short term.
    The Greens need to drop their blanket opposition to coal.
    The unions need to start talking about an overall energy policy which ensures Britain’s C02 reduction targets are met.

    Jaqui’s point in #32 that: “the trades council needs to adopt a clear but simple policy on supporting renewable energy, acknowledging the reality of climate change, calling for nationalisation of the energy industries under democratic workers control and long term socialist planning to support the environment.” is the right way forward.

  34. Larry R on said:

    Firstly calling climate campers “middle class hippies” etc is an unhelpful stereotype.

    Secondly – at the Heathrow climate camp protesters did join a local workers picket line that was happening at the same time.

    Thirdly – we need a new kind of socialist politics – the techno-optimism exhibited by paddy’s post # 26 and others is problematic. The classical class politics of the 19th and early 20th centuries was about equally distributing the ‘goods’ developed by society. Now we are aware that this technological modernity also produces unanticipated ‘side effects’ or ‘bads’ – like climate change. Many contemporary struggles are about these. To simply go on about technology and prosperity as unambiguous goods – without also understanding the crucial battles around the downsides – is to only see half the picture.

    Another post – # 24 talks about the ‘anti-science left’ – meaning environmental socialists like myself I suppose.

    But knowledge about ecology and pollution is also scientific knowledge. We would not know about climate change without advanced scientific instruments etc. It is also being ‘anti-scientific’ to cheerlead certain technologies as if they brought no serious or profound problems.

    I think some people here are using workerist arguments to support specific industrial lobbies. We then get a cross class alliance of unions and capitalists united lobbying for their industry – coal or nuclear power – with some pretending this is some kind of socialist campaign.

    Ever wondered why some versions of ‘socialism’ look like relics from a bygone age?

    In conclusion…. 🙂

    Climate camp + trades unionists UNITE! We face a common enemy in capitalism, and we need to generate independent working class politics to deal with this. We dont need the working class to be lead either by industrial lobbyists and their bosses, or by bourgeois environmentalism.

  35. paddy garcia on said:

    “Firstly calling climate campers “middle class hippies” etc is an unhelpful stereotype.”

    that is precisely what most of them are and i will repeat they are drawn from the more prosperous layers of the upper middle class.
    They see the left and labour movement as part of the problem instead of the solution, they think its “unclean” to rub shoulders with the working class. whenever I come across these twats just want to reach for my pistol, unfortunately don’t have one!

  36. Anonymous on said:

    Paddy #39 – if you are taken to represent us in the socialist and working class movements then no wonder some environmentalists see us as part of the problem instead of the solution! Doh!

    Besides – from my decades of experience of the trotskyist left, lots of them are from the upper middle class.

    And there are plenty of working class hippies!

    ya big soppy semi-stalinoid third world nationalist angry ol’ bloke, you! 🙂 X

    nuff said.

  37. Jim Monaghan on said:

    I don’t support the union counter demo and dont think it is the way forward for workers in the industry.

    As I said, I am part of a political organisation that is made up mainly of open-cast coal workers, ex-miners and their families. But the way forward is for the workers to get together with the demonstrators and put our short term and long term plans to them.

    There are hundreds of workers involved in this industry in Scotland, it produces a large chunk of Scotland’s energy needs, contributes a fraction of our carbon emissions and we propose to dramatically cut this in the short term and eradicating it in the long term.

    We argue for every new station to be the highest stabndard of new technology and do not believe in ‘coal at any cost’.

    Our argument is that only an industry owned and operated by the workers can deliver clean green coal technology, where the focus is on energy production, jobs and the wider benefit to society, and not profits.

    Counter demonstrations are counter productive, in my opinion.

    I am no expert on the situation in England so can only comment on the Scottish coafields. Although 3/4 of the coal extracted here is burned in England, mainly at Drax, so we need a UK wide solution to this.

  38. Hi,

    Most in the climate camp are very class-conscious, with some of the comments being made on this blog being wide of the mark. Workers at Heathrow were repeatedly leafleted in the run-up and during the camp (indeed Terminal 5 workers were given counter-leaflets by their employers). And the strike by Nippon Express at Heathrow during the camp was expilictly supported, with lots of people visiting the picketline. See http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/08/378711.html

    Below is the text of an article from Page 3 of a booklet given to everyone attending last years camp, from the Camp for Climate Action (something similar expressing solidarity with workers, and stressing that no worker should suffer as we move to a world not using fossible fuels, is being worked on now).

    People from the NUM have been invited to talk at this years camp, as it is essential that we find common ground in facing climate change, which will vastly increase inequality, and making sure the costs of solutions to climate change do not fall on the poor.

    Cheers, K

    The Climate Camp will be a Class Act

    Mention climate change five years ago, and you’d have been written off as a doom-sayer. Even in this last year the problem has been how to get the issue taken seriously. For years we’d been shouting ‘fire!’ and few listened. Now, with the exception of a few flat-earthers, everyone agrees that we need to reduce carbon emissions. So the problem has shifted to a struggle over solutions. If we don’t recognise this and just continue shouting ‘fire!’ we risk acting as ushers for those who would use this crisis as an excuse to restructure the world in their interests.

    Climate change doesn’t affect us all the in same way and its impacts reinforce existing hierarchies. The world’s poor are more likely to live in areas at risk from drought or flooding. If Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans taught us anything, it is that poor people are less likely to have insurance, the ability to migrate or the resources to rebuild their lives. The scale of action and the level of carbon emission reductions won’t be the outcome of scientific debate but the result of struggle between the haves and the have-nots. Quite simply, the rich and powerful can tolerate higher levels of climate change because their wealth can be used to escape many of the consequences. The rest of us are more exposed to its effects, whether it’s flooding or increased food prices.

    But it’s not just a case of how much we reduce emission; the battle is also over how change is imposed. Capitalism likes a good crisis. Crises provide opportunities to restructure, to sweep away existing barriers to growth and to realise new profits.

    We can already see the outlines of this restructuring in the solutions business and government are putting on the table. The climate change crisis may be used to bring even more areas of life under market mechanisms – and so exacerbate existing inequalities. With the rich able to buy their way out of schemes, the costs fall on the less powerful. Resentment at this lies behind much of the resistance we see to regressive taxes such as the air-passenger duty and road pricing. Ultimately all solutions that trust markets to deal with climate change are window dressing: the social costs are too high for market mechanisms to deliver 90% cuts in carbon dioxide emissions before 2050. The majority will not agree to bear all the costs while the powerful reject all limits on their lifestyles.

    On the face of it we are fucked. Or are we? Our only hope lies in breaking with the logic that has taken us to this point. Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. But where will an outbreak of sanity emerge? We desperately need the ignition of a sustained social movement to tackle climate change. One also willing to tackle the horrendous inequalities that already exist because climate change cannot be tackled on its own.

    Social movements always appear to emerge from nowhere because they invent new logics that break with contemporary sense. It’s this ability to invent new possible worlds that gives them the dynamism to stand up to the brutal logic of capitalism, which has driven opinion-formers, government mandarins and company boards for so long. The Camp igniting such a movement may seem unlikely to some, but real fear of it happening lies behind the concerted campaign to undermine it through injunctions and media smears.

    Ends

  39. Jim Monaghan on said:

    Kay,

    Again I would say that you don’t just involve the NUM. Because the ‘mining’ of coal has changed in recent years, much of the coal is now derived from quarries (open casts) and those workers are traditionally in the TGWU.

    4-5 megatonnes of coal to Drax and other English stations come from coal extracted by the Scottish open cast workers, so I would advise contacting the TGWU/Unite construction workers as well.

    But I agree that the portrayal of enviromental campaigners by some here is unfair. However, the trouble is that many are intransigent and there would no point in inviting workers to the camp if it is only to persuafde them to choose unemployment.

  40. Jim Johnson on said:

    As is well illustrated above, no discussion of nuclear powere leaves a huge gap in the lefts position on energy and environment.

  41. Jim Monaghan on said:

    Thats just what I mean “compenstion” and “regenration” will not win the argument with the workers.

    Agriculture, transport and housing add more to our carbon fotprint than coal.

    We need to see an approach that allows for cuts in emissions from coal and investment in speeding up carbon caprure technolgies so that we can keep our coalfields communities working for centuries, not compensation for losing our livliehoods.

    If the transition is to have peoples jobs as the price then it is pointless inviting the NUM or any other union to the camp.

    “workers of the world unite – you will defintely lose your job” is not a slogan to unite us.

  42. Jim Johnson on said:

    But Jim M, thats always been your position towards Nuclear Power workers in Scotland hasn’t it?

  43. Jim Monaghan on said:

    No Jim it hasnt. The nuclear workers I know in Ayrshire know the lifespan of their plant and how long it was to last for.

    As for new ones, I am not up on the developments in the technology and so am open to persuasion on their use and viability.

    I know about the Scottish coalfields but havent replied to your views on new nuclear stations as I dont have the knowledge to challenge your point or agree with yout point.

  44. Hi Jim M, You’re right on not just focusing on the NUM – climate change is a cross-sector problem, and cross union. But, you’re not correct on your coal stats:

    Coal is currently 35% of all global emissions, according to official US figures:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/104/24/10288.full.pdf

    Summarised in Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas

    However, given the historical role of coal, and the long-lifespan of CO2 in the atmosphere, 50% of the increase in CO2 since the industrial revolution is attributable to coal, according to NASA’s top climate scientist:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS191999+07-Jan-2008+PRN20080107

    They key here is solidarity. The poor will suffer – are suffering, dying – because of climate change. This should be at the top of our agenda, solidarity is with people, and dignified lives for all, not particular professions, be they coal miners or farmers growing biofuels rather than food. The key to me is to force, as much as possible, a politics of dignified lives for all, which means not burning fossil fuels, and those whose jobs currently do push us towards catastrophic climate change, should be paid to move to less damaging professions. It also means inviting miners and others workers (obviously those volunteering to put on the camp are all workers too, mostly unionised as well; there era of activists being unemployed is sadly over) to the climate camp to discuss how to more forward. But nobody is advocating “losing jobs”.

  45. Jim Monaghan on said:

    Coal from Scotland produces 25% of scotland’s electricity and a large chunk of England’s, yet it accounts for less than 10% of Scotland’s carbon emissions.

    The proposals we support would reduce that by over 30% in the short term, more in the medium term and almost totally in the long term.

  46. Jim Johnson on said:

    Sorry Jim, I thought you wanted nusclear power stations closed.
    if you’re involved in Solidarity it is your parties policy to oppose all new Nuclear generation.

  47. paddy garcia on said:

    Anonymous said:

    Besides – from my decades of experience of the trotskyist left, lots of them are from the upper middle class.

    Very true but at least they have reached the correct class conclusions, that’s why they’re Trots after all.

  48. Terry on said:

    I am a Climate Camper and IWW member and I am involved in Workers Climate Action in Scotland.

    For what its worth, I agree with some of the sentiments on the discussion along the line of the “need to build a working class environmental movement by calling for measures such as renationalisation of the railways, free housing insulation (which will lower people’s fuel bills), curbing corporate power & making the rich pay to solve the crisis.”

    I agree that adopting a clear but simple policy “on supporting renewable energy, acknowledging the reality of climate change, calling for nationalisation of the energy industries under democratic workers control and long term socialist planning to support the environment” is a good move.

    It seems to me as though greens need to drop their blanket opposition to coal whilst renewables are seriously invested-in until renewables are providing most of our energy supply and “with enough reserve capacity to cope with the variablility of renewables […] created via gas turbines and coal and creating a dynamic grid, with autonomous elements.”

    Whilst, I agree that the the Climate Camp has switched on to Just Transition belatedly and have shown little sensitivity to the workers’ position in terms of the prominence given to the issue, I do agree that “Climate camp + trades unionists [should] UNITE! [that] We face a common enemy in capitalism, and we need to generate independent working class politics to deal with this. We dont need the working class to be lead either by industrial lobbyists and their bosses, or by bourgeois environmentalism.”

    I also agree with the TUC’s stance that a Just Transition to a low carbon economy is not only inevitable but also desirable – new jobs created by high-speed rail would exceed jobs at airports, eco-retrofitting houses would create jobs in a suffering construcion industry and jobs in the renewable energy sector can outsrip jobs in coal and nuclear.

    Constructive dialogue can only be a good thing on this issue and the climate is a great place for an open debate.

    Terry

  49. Jim Monaghan on said:

    #52 Jim, it is Solidarity’s position to reject all new nuclear development. However, i am open to persuasion. If there are arguments that the new stations cost less, reasonable arguments over waste and safety then I am willing to listen.

    But I recognise that I am no expert on the subject and so therefore do not have enough knowledge to have a fixed position.

    I know about coal, i am a member of a coal-based political organisation attached to solidarity. my family are miners, I live in a coalfield, my grandfather died in a pit, my other grandfather drove coal lorries, my dad was a miner, my mother worked in the planning offices of the NCB. So I have enough knowledge of the industry and it’s communities to have a clear view, even if you disagree with that view.

    But the same is not true of nuclear.

  50. paddy garcia on said:

    Totally agree with what Terry said, especially that any acknowledgment of workers concerns seem a bit belated. How was this position reached? were many hostile to working class interests? If this is more than lip service it is indeed the way forward, but I do fear that it will be soon forgotten. Can Terry and others convince us otherwise?

  51. Roy Wilkes on said:

    Goons like Paddy Garcia are easily duped by the ruling class. I’m sure he’d have happily ‘reached for his pistol’ to deal with such middle class ecologists as Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels, not to mention such upper middle class ‘posh twats’ as Lenin, Trotsky, Castro and Guevara. In his unbridled hostility towards the climate movement, Garcia is unwittingly siding with the real enemy of working people, the billionaire investors in fossil fuels and fossil fuel related industries.

    The modern green movement has its roots not among middle class hippies, as Garcia alleges, but in such movements as the Green Bans of Australia, in which the New South Wales Building Labourers Federation directly blocked ecologically harmful developments – until that is they were smashed by the BLF’s national bureaucracy, who used language very similar to Garcia’s and who were in direct cahoots with the employers and with Bob Hawke’s right wing labour Government. During this right wing counter-offensive Juanita Nielsen, a prominent supporter of the NSWBLF, was murdered by goons in the pay of corrupt property developers. For more information about the Green Bans read the article at http://cacctu.wordpress.com/

    The environment in general and climate change in particular are very much working class issues. Indeed if the planet is to have any chance of survival it will be the result not of the moralistic individualism of goons like Garcia who, like the very worst of the petty bourgeois environmentalists, is quick to tell us how much he recycles and how he doesn’t drive, but by the collective mass action of organised workers.

    A counter demonstration in favour of ‘clean coal’ is the very worst example of blatant class collaborationism. E.ON and John Hutton must be jumping up and down with glee. Instead of sewing illusions in ‘clean coal’, we should be fighting alongside the environmental movement to nationalise the entire fossil fuel and power generation industries precisely in order to defend (and indeed improve) jobs as we carry out a planned transition to zero carbon production.

    As Adamski has already pointed out, the Campaign against Climate Change organised a highly successful Trade Union Conference in February, which gathered together over 300 trades unionists from across the country. There will be a second conference in February 2009. Let’s make it another big success and let’s use it as an opportunity to develop the strategies we need to win.

  52. paddy garcia on said:

    As we move closer to the day of this middle class “climate” camp, people are getting angrier. Here’s the latest twist:

    http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/07/403441.html

    Well done Dave Douglass, you speak for most of us.
    Now can we have answers to this from the camp organisers? After all one of you mentioned that the face that Dave was billed as a speaker in a camp workshop, where now?

  53. Roy Wilkes on said:

    Climate Camp is right to demand that coal (and indeed all fossil fuels) be left under the ground. But the people who are best placed to make that happen are those who work in the industry. That means we’ve got to win over those workers politically. We can’t by-pass them and shut things down from the outside by the heroic actions of a few well-meaning individuals. And we will only win workers to taking the necessary level of political action if there is a well thought out and democratically derived workers’ plan for alternative production (along the lines of that developed by the Lucas Aerospace shop stewards in the seventies,) and crucially a mass movement of sufficient social weight and political strength to ensure that the plan can be implemented. The job of socialists is to build this mass movement, not to promote a divisive counter demonstration.

    But can workers be convinced of the need to close their own industry? This is not how we should pose the question. The idea of capitalists closing industries under the whip hand of market forces is of course abhorrent. But we shouldn’t give up on the possibility of workers themselves organising to redirect their skills towards socially beneficial outcomes. For us it wouldn’t be a question of closing down the coal industry, it would be a question of reorganising to produce other things (for example turbines for wind, wave and tidal energy, all of which are far more labour intensive than coal) with no loss of pay and substantially better conditions of employment. The Lucas workers certainly didn’t insist on their right to continue making armaments! They drew up a democratic plan for socially useful production. That is the direction we all need to be moving in.

  54. I think theres benn a huge misunderstanding here – partially due to both ‘sides’ lack of communication with eachother fromn an earlier stage.
    Climate camp is not endorsing the smashing of the coal industry, they are protesting the building of new power plants – the number of which does not correspond with the number of new, or existing operational coal mines in the UK. We currently get 70% of our coal from Russia, and much of the rest from Austrailia and elsewhere. The building of these plants will not revive the british coal industry, as the vast majority of coal will not be mined here. Also, the Camp is in favour of a ‘just transition’ to renewables – meaning a change in technology without the compromising of the jobs of workers. I feel that protesting against climate camp would split a movement, as I see workers struggle and eco-struggle as two sides of the same coin, and that you would be protesting against people who broadly share your views on Workers power and control.

  55. prianikoff on said:

    I don’t think it’s just a misunderstanding.

    It’s an inherent problem with holding a demonstration based on a policy of “keeping all fossil fuels in the ground” and expecting to get support from workers involved in mining or power generation in Britain.

    A better ‘transitional alternative plan’ would be to insist that *all* new plant is costed on the basis of environmentally sound disposal of the emissions. i.e. its true social cost.

    Using this criteria it would be legitimate to demonstrate against the fact that Kingsnorth has no definite preconditions for capture technology and is based on privatised energy companies profit margins.

    But it simply doesn’t follow that *no new, more efficient coal fired plant* should go ahead, nor does it follow the coal imports can’t be reduced by *expanding domestic production*.

    Accepting the “zero c02” within 10 years position will just give a green light to the privatised nuclear power industry and the proposed 8 new nuclear power stations, with no questions asked about the long term implications of nuclear waste disposal.

    This is an even worse example of ploughing forward with a technology, the consequences of which, will affect people for tens of thousands of years.

    James Hansen and Al Gore are well-meaning, but don’t have the politics to bridge the gap. Even with a hugely reduced mining industry in Britain, the tradtion of the NUM’s politics lives on, as evidenced by the increasing attendance at the Durham Miner’s Gala. That’s the arena where alternatives on energy need to be worked out by the rank and file and pressed on the Labour Government by the unions.

  56. All power to the climate camp. The counter demo is little better than the Powellite marches against British passport holders coming to Britain. Silly, sectional, nonsense.

    What we need now is not economic growth but economic consolidation. Share out the wealth, share out the work and use that as a spring board for the development of a new climate friendly technology to take us forward.

  57. Prianikoff: “A better ‘transitional alternative plan’ would be to insist that *all* new plant is costed on the basis of environmentally sound disposal of the emissions. i.e. its true social cost.” Even better would be to say no new coal fired power stations unless Carbon Capture and Storage is actually in place and working. Because the current government and power company position, “CCS ready”, is nothing but a green light to build coal fired power stations regardless, since any power station could be described as ‘CCS ready’. The fact is that the technology doesn’t yet exist, certainly on a useable scale, and until it is we shouldn’t accept coal fired power stations.

    “Accepting the “zero c02″ within 10 years position will just give a green light to the privatised nuclear power industry and the proposed 8 new nuclear power stations, with no questions asked about the long term implications of nuclear waste disposal.” This doesn’t follow at all. Of course we should oppose the new nuclear power stations – and almost every day new information comes to light about how untenable they are. Surely the correct response should be to campaign for massive investment in wind, solar, tidal and wave power – all of which would create huge numbers of jobs.

  58. Steve on said:

    The climate camp was a Middle Class joke last year and is still the same this year. A group with no understanding of capitalist control of their lives and how the powers of big business have invented the entire CO2 driving climate change myth to enable taxation and control of the working class.

    One of the useful idiots from the climate camp organising group went to Number 10 last week to get an award from Brown for his campaign wotk ! You couldn’t make it up

  59. ex-miner on said:

    I had high hopes for the camp for climate action (as it’s called) but attending a couple of meetings quickly made me realise that this was nothing more than a bunch of middle class wankers more worried about the effect of climate change on their house prices than global poverty of the workings of capitalism. When a couple of individuals raised the issue of how a growing band of scientists are questioning the humankind driven theory of climate change it was obvious that this was not a discussion they wanted to have and discussion was stopped.

    Over at Indymedia they of course (anybody know why) are doing their usual when it comes to union organised activity – hiding it. At least it makes a change from them having a go at Jewish people I suppose.

  60. This site tells that Clean Coal technology to be developed as a way of offsetting the drive for expanded nuclear energy production.We can use the coal as an alternative for nuclear energy.

  61. stuart goldhawk on said:

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  62. anne mc bride on said:

    i pour scorn on jim monaghan`s use of the royal we in reference to miners.`we` the miners.he was never a miner,he is merely an political aggitator,tho not wrong in itself-ought not to lie for the sake of credibility.

  63. Jim Monaghan on said:

    Read it again Anne, I didnt say that I was a miner 🙂

    Youre not very good at this stalker/pest thing are you?

  64. Jim Monaghan on said:

    Andy, I had to kick this person from my facebook list following personal insults, and using my facebook page for her zionist anti-muslim agenda.

    Best to keep an aye out as it looks like she has started again here. She will probably get bored or too drunk soon.

  65. anne mc bride on said:

    fossil fuels are still a legitimate source of power in the uk.both china and india are thriving due to both the use of manpower and fossil fuel.they also have a simultaneous recycling program.the uk`s economy is suffering as working class work for peanuts.i dinae buy the `greens`,arguments.eugenics based,as socialists we should be on the side o the folk that are,here and now.it`s a question of priorities.internationally.