Stop Kingsnorth: no to new coal power

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13 March 2008

What planet is John Hutton living on?

Yesterday at a speech at the Adam Smith Institute, John Hutton made it pretty clear that the government was going to support resurrecting coal-fired power stations, starting with Kingsnorth in Kent. While he was there he also had a pop at the green campaigners who he accused of ‘gesture politics’. We had a quick discussion in the office about what this actually means, and decided that we weren’t entirely sure but what is clear is that we and the thousands of people who have emailed him are striking a nerve – great news!

Campaigning organisations got together and expressed their outrage at Hutton’s hint of going ahead with Kingsnorth without a public inquiry.

We said: "Hutton has the audacity to accuse green groups of gesture politics but it seems that today he is hinting that he will give a quick consent for Kingsnorth. This is undemocratic and dangerous. It appears that he has been blinded by the empty promises of big business and unproven technology. Hutton’s vision of climate leadership is to build polluting power stations and cross his fingers and hope for the best that unproven carbon capture technology works. This is not politics; this is a game of smoke and mirrors.

Christian Aid said that granting permission for Kingsnorth would be a "shameful climbdown" from the leading role the UK has taken in demanding worldwide cuts in carbon emissions, and made a "mockery" of the Climate Change Bill at present going through Parliament.

Greenpeace, said: "When it comes to climate change, Gordon Brown's Government is behaving like Jekyll and Hyde.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said: "At a time when the Government should be working to reduce the UK's emissions, ministers seem determined to allow a huge new polluting power station. What planet is John Hutton living on?

Our WDM campaigner managed to sneak in to hear the speech and asked Hutton whether he would announce a public inquiry. Unsurprisingly he dodged the question, but did mention that the one thing he definitely was not going to do is send the UK back to the stone age, which is ironic given that he is a lover of old fashioned coal and clearly hasn’t read the reports which say that if governments don’t take action now, dangerous climate change will throw many countries back to the stone age.

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