Will the real Ed Miliband please stand up?

Posted by jossc — 22 December 2008 at 3:51pm - Comments

Coal power - no thanks!

Ed Miliband demonstrated the confusion at the of the heart of the government's energy and climate change strategies this morning when he refused to rule out new coal plants which don't capture and bury their emissions – just weeks after his own advisers warned there was no future for these power plants.

He attacked Conservative plans for the introduction of green standards for power stations that would rule out the dirtiest coal plants like E.ON's for Kingsnorth, as "knee jerk" and "not thought through". Apparently, he's happy to play party politics with coal and climate change, just days after he called for a people-powered movement on global warming. Hardly the way to inspire action on the most important issue of our time.

Mr Miliband told the Financial Times that he recognised that "in 20 years time we're not going to be building unabated coal-fired power stations". But he knows from his own advisors - Lord Turner and his Committee on Climate Change - that 20 years is far too late! The reality is that, according to the UN, global CO2 emissions must have peaked and begun to recede by 2015 at the latest. Lord Turner says this means the total decarbonisation of the power sector in the UK by 2030. Where do new dirty coal plants sit with that other government policy?

It is especially ironic that this comes from the same Ed Miliband who recently called for a Suffragette-style movement of people on climate change.

So what's it going to be - a serious attempt to tackle climate change or a new generation of climate-wrecking coal fired power plants? Because it can't be both. Greenpeace executive director John Sauven immediately called on Ed Miliband to clarify his position:

"At the moment it looks he's chosen the week just before Christmas to slip out a deeply concerning new position on the totemic climate change issue of this decade. If that is the case then he will have rejected the pleas of the world's leading climate scientists and his own advisor, Lord Turner, who declared just a few weeks ago that we can’t meet our climate targets by allowing new coal plants to pump out emissions for decades."

Face it Ed, it's make your mind up time. And you only have one chance to get it right.

About Joss

Bass player and backing vox in the four piece beat combo that is the UK Greenpeace Web Experience. In my 6 years here I've worked on almost every campaign and been fascinated by them all to varying degrees. Just now I'm working on Peace and Oceans - which means getting rid of our Trident nuclear weapons system and creating large marine reserves so that marine life can get some protection from overfishing.

Follow Greenpeace UK