- New gas fired power station occupied
- Plans for 20 new plants across country
- Part of push to burn all remaining fossil fuels
- Would trigger catastrophic climate change
- Since Rio+20 big push for ‘green capitalism’
- Climate change quietly being embraced
- Grassroots community resistance needed
- Lots of different things that everyone can do
- Your area will have something to fight soon
In the early hours of this morning 15 climate activists scaled two 300 ft tall chimneys at a power station in Nottinghamshire and settled in for the long haul. They are occupying West Burton gas fired power station which is currently under construction in Nottinghamshire. The power station is 1,300MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) plant which is being constructed next to an existing coal fired power station and is among the first of around 20 new gas-fired power stations planned in the UK as part of the present dash for gas. These new power stations are part of larger trend of discarding all but the thinnest pretext of reducing fossil fuel consumption and pushing ahead ever most insane extraction techniques.
The rush to exploit Shale gas and CBM is part of this suicidal push to keep burning fossil fuels and ignore the consequences. Despite the fact that less that half of conventional fossil fuel reserves can be burnt while standing some chance of remaining below a still dangerous 2°C and carbon emission need to start dropping fast before the end of this decade, the response of those in power is to herd us all towards oblivion but making plans to burn not only all conventional reserves but doing their best to find ways of exploiting new unconventional fossil fuels as well. In fact stated government policy is to seek full economic recovery of UK hydrocarbon resources—both conventional and unconventional which in the context of climate change is the same thing as announcing a global suicide pact.
Corporations and their political lackeys of all stripes are committed to driving forward with business as usual at all costs. While there may be some disagreement over the best way to spin this agenda, with different factions pushing energy security, fuel poverty or even clean energy as justifications for burning all the fossil fuels they can get there hands on, the only options on the table appears to be drill, baby, drill and burn, baby, burn.
Hope of any substantive action to address climate change, let alone a global deal that would seriously address humanity’s present predicament, if it ever existed at all, has now completely evaporated. The outcome of the Rio+20 conference should leave no one in any doubt which way the wind is blowing. Exploitation of climate change for profit, via its effects (arctic drilling etc.) or false solutions (geoengineering, CCS etc.), is the only thing on the agenda. So called Green Capitalism, which is just business as usual with a load of greenwash poured over it, is centre stage now.
A telling example of how the the situation has changed was the speech given by the CEO of Exxon-Mobil to the US Council on Foreign Relation shortly after the Rio conference. In a complete about face for a company that has only been recently funding climate denial he admitted climate change was a problem but then went on to push the opportunities involved in finding engineering solutions.
Governments and corporations are quietly embracing climate change now there is no threat of anything being done to curtail the system that is causing it. Whether these plutocrats have really deluded themselves that they can find “engineering solutions” to the worlds problems or more likely believe that they can remain untouched by the suffering that their inaction will cause, is of little consequence to rest of us. Deeds not words are what counts and we need to stop listening to people who are telling us to wait around and let “them” sort it out for us.
The only possible hope for humanity is concerted grassroots action by communities across the global to force change whether governments or corporations like it or not. While this may seem like a pipe dream, in fact the effects of climate change and energy extraction can give us some hope. As the desperate rush to keep fossil fuels flowing is pushing extraction almost literally into people’s back gardens, more and more people are seeing the effects of this system up close and personal. Communities across the global are already resisting the spread of unconventional fossil fuel extraction but we need extreme resistance to fight extreme energy. You don’t need to to climb a 300 ft chimney and occupy a power station to make a difference. Perhaps a 45ft drlling rig would suit you better. Or perhaps you prefer to keep your feet firmly on the ground. In fact you don’t have to do anything so daring but but you do have to take action if you want to make a difference.
Raising awareness with spectacular actions like that at West Burton is vital but stopping the destruction of the ecosystems we depend on will require much more widespread, long lasting and grassroots efforts. We need thousands of communities refusing to let fossil fuel extraction destroy their neighbourhoods. Coincidentally in Nottinghamshire Egdon Resources and their partners are talking about starting exploration for shale gas with a test well near West Burton next year. Dart Energy are also involved in exploration for Coal Bed Methane in the area. There will be people organising to stop them. What will you be doing where you live?