On 17th July 2008, former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Al Gore, gave a landmark speech in which he outlined the kind of political response which is called for by leading climate scientist James Hansen’s recent assessment of the science. Gore raised the bar on the scale and urgency of the action required to solve not only climate change, but also resource wars and rising energy prices. His challenge is for US citizens to call on the presidential candidates to commit themselves to power the US on renewable and “clean energy” sources within ten years. The 300-350 Show brings you this historic speech in full.
If Gordon Brown was showing leadership on climate change here in the UK this is the kind of speech we would see him make.
Instead we expect him to give the green light to a new generation of new dirty coal fired power stations…
- Why agrofuels have been responsible for food riots, land grabs and increasing hunger around the globe
- Why the Gallagher report and others underestimate the impact of biofuels on climate change
- Why the Gallagher report is not independent
- Why we need to listen to the global calls for a moratorium on biofuels rather than industry and government’s suggestion of a slow down
Ahead of this year’s Camp for Climate Action we speak to Connor O’Brien about the movement’s plans for sustainable living, education, and shutting down the coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent. And we end the programme with a rough mix of “Soul Not Coal” a song written for the Camp by The Carbon Town Cryer.
Despite James Hansen’s personal plea to Prime Minister Gordon Brown last December to take a leadership role in initiating a global moratorium against unabated coal, the UK government’s Department for Business currently looks likely to grant permission to a new series of coal-fired power stations that are “Carbon Capture Ready”. We discuss what this means and why it’s not good enough with Dr Keith Allott, Head of WWF-UK’s Climate Change Campaign who commissioned a report recently exploring these questions.
We requested an interview with the Department of Business but had to make do with a written statement which explains that the UK is relying on the highly problematic and inadequate EU Emissions Trading Scheme to solve the problem.
Meanwhile in the US, the tide is turning against coal at the grassroots, state and even the federal levels – 59 applications for coal-fired power plants were cancelled, abandoned or put on hold in 2007 and there is a bill going through Congress to put a moratorium on new unabated coal developments. We speak to Mike Ewall of the Energy Justice Network who has played a key role in supporting and connecting up the grassroots campaigners who have been doggedly winning on a case by case basis.
We close the programme with a taster from a landmark speech made by Al Gore last week, where he suggests the US should respond to climate change with the due urgency the science now implies. He lays down a “moon landing” style challenge for the US to power itself by renewable energy within just ten years.
Leading US climate scientist and director of NASA, Dr James Hansen, has made it clear that “preservation of climate requires that most remaining fossil fuel carbon is never emitted to the atmosphere” and that “the only realistic way to sharply curtail CO2 emissions is to phase out coal use except where CO2 is captured and sequestered.”
Over the last six months Hansen has taken the unusual step of writing in a personal capacity to various heads of states asking them to bring in a moratorium on new coal. The first letter he wrote was to Prime Minister Gordon Brown last December. He wrote:
“Your leadership is needed on a matter … with ramifications for life on our planet, including all species … [A] decision to phase out coal use unless the CO2 is captured is a global imperative, if we are to preserve the wonders of nature, our coastlines, and our social and economic well-being … If Britain and Germany halted construction of coal-fired power plants that do not capture and sequester the CO2 it could be a tipping point for the world.”
Our first guest is Leila Deen from the World Development Movement about the campaign against Gordon Brown’s plans to build seven new coal-fired power stations without requiring them to have Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology.
Our second is Georgina Woods who speaks to us by ‘phone from Australia on the final day of the country’s first Camp for Climate Action – a week long event which culminated in the country’s biggest ever direct action against the country’s coal exporting industry.