PM branded climate failure as UN releases key report
Greenpeace campaigners today dumped four tonnes of coal on the doorstep of Tony Blair's environment department and branded the PM a climate failure.
Soon after 10am this morning a truck daubed with the message BLAIR DUMPS CLIMATE tipped the coal outside the entrance to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)in Westminster. The move coincides with this morning's Paris press conference at which the latest assessment of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is released. The study will say with more certainty than ever that humans are warming the planet to dangerous levels.
In the face of the increasingly certain science of climate change, Blair's response is to continue to lead the UK in completely the wrong direction in the fight against climate change.
Greenpeace today released a dossier showing that:
For the first time in twenty years proposals for new inefficient coal-fired power stations are being submitted by power companies in the UK.
The use of coal for electricity generation has gone up from 47.3 to 52.5 million tonnes a year under Labour.
CO2 emissions in 2005 were only 6.4 percent below 1990 levels, way off the governments target of a 20 percent cut by 2010.
Blair's boast that the UK is set to meet and exceed its Kyoto target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is mainly due to the policies of previous Conservative administrations which made the 'dash' from coal to gas. The Kyoto target (a 12.5 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on 1990 levels by 2010) was all but met when Labour took office.
CO2 emissions - the main greenhouse gas - have risen since Blair came to power in 1997, from 548.4 million tonnes per year to 554.2 million tonnes in 2005.
Emissions from domestic aviation (internal UK flights) rose by 7.1 percent from 2004 to 2005. Emissions from international (flights from UK) aviation rose by 5.7 percent. International aviation is not included in the Kyoto target, hiding its impact on rising UK CO2 emissions.
Emissions from road transport continue to rise. Nearly 3 million more tonnes of CO2 were pumped out by road transport in 2004 than were emitted in 1997.
Blair claims the UK is only responsible for 2 percent of global emissions. In reality transferral of the UK's manufacturing base to China - the world's most energy inefficient manufacturing nation - has led Britain to, in effect, export its emissions. We are also the world's seventh largest emitter, responsible for more than 112 of the world's smallest emitting nations combined.
Greenpeace climate campaigner Jim Footner said: "The top climate change experts have today confirmed that we are on the verge of climate catastrophe. Yet, shockingly, Blair has presided over an increase in CO2 emissions from coal-burning, aviation and road transport.
"And as if that wasn't enough to wreck the planet, he now plans to dump new coal fired power stations on the UK. These aren't just hideously dangerous for the planet, they're also woefully inefficient.
"If Blair really thinks he's a world leader on global warming, then he's totally deluded. It's time for less government spin and more real action to reduce CO2 emissions."
Despite the latest conclusions from the IPCC, Tony Blair is ushering in a new generation of coal-fired power stations in the UK. Greenpeace is campaigning for a phase-out of such power stations and instead backs localised or 'decentralised' power generation, which is much more efficient. Currently, most British power stations waste two-thirds of the energy they generate in the form of heat escaping up their cooling towers. By locating smaller generators close to where energy is used, the heat generated in power stations can be captured and used to heat our homes.
Decentralised energy is already working in many European countries and powers cities like Copenhagen and Malmo. Along with a range of renewable energy technologies it is the key to modernising the energy industry and slashing its massive contribution to climate change. In the UK, Woking Council has reduced its carbon footprint by 77 percent by employing decentralised technologies.
For more information, contact the Greenpeace press office on 020 7865 8255 or 07939 245864.
Video and stills are available. Campaigners are available for interview.
The full dossier detailing Blair's climate failures is available for download here or from the Greenpeace press office.