The government is committed to a 60% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. The Chief Scientist Sir David King has said that to avoid the worst effects of climate change that might have to be increased to 80%.
Power supply in the UK is being reduced as old nuclear power station reach the end of their lives; and from 2008 most coal power stations will be forced to shut down when the EU’s Large Combustion Plant directive takes effect.
The nuclear industry has promoted itself as the solution to these challenges. It says that a new generation of nuclear power stations is the best solution for the UK’s future energy needs.
We examine these claims and look at the alternatives. Does the case for nuclear stack up?
We talk to David Woodward, co-author of Oasis and Mirage, a critical report on nuclear which was published in June by the New Economics Foundation; and Jonathon Leake, Environment Editor of the Sunday Times about the PR offensive that the nuclear industry has launched to reposition itself as the answer to all our problems.
The Tyndall Centre has said that unconstrained growth in aviation might make it impossible for us to meet our long term targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
We hear from Peter Riding of Stop Stansted Expansion about the struggle of the local community to prevent a new runway being built at Stansted Airport – and why he thinks they will win.
We ask Karen Buck MP at the Department for Transport why the UK’s aviation policy is running in the opposite direction to our commitment to tackle climate change. Is the Department for Transport putting economic growth before environmental limits?
Aviation is by far and away the most environmentally damaging form of transport. At a time when we need to be urgently and dramatically reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, the British government is planning a massive expansion in civil aviation.
What on Earth is going on?
- We ask Brian Hoskins of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution just why aviation is so damaging.
- We ask the Chair of the Environment Audit Committee, Peter Ainsworth MP, what the government should be doing.
After the G8, we ask Michael Meacher MP, former environment minister; Bob Ward, spokesperson, Royal Society; and Simon Retallack, International Climate Change Taskforce/IPPR: what is the pathway now for achieving the international agreement we urgently need to avoid the worst effects of climate change?
We assess the final G8 communique and action plan on climate change and look beyond to the UN talks in Montreal starting 28 November where serious post-Kyoto talks will begin.
We also look at a major new report looking at the link between oil extraction and debt in developing countries and the Climate Change Bill – launched at the House of Commons today (13th July 2005) by Michael Meacher MP – which would make annual CO2 reductions binding. The bill is supported by a coalition of organisations including WWF, Christian Aid, Friends of the Earth, Transport 2000, Help the Aged and World Development Movement.
For more on the Climate Change Bill campaign see: www.thebigask.com
We look at the likely G8 deal on climate change. Will it be worth the paper it’s written on? We discuss this with:
- Simon Retallack of the International Climate Change Taskforce
- George Monbiot, author and Guardian columnist
- Catherine Pearce, Climate Campaigner, Friends of the Earth International