Is Kingsnorth Now Doomed?

Thursday, 9th October 2008 at 11:32 UTC 2 comments

The Guardian is reporting that the EU has passed new emissions regulations that, apart from anything else, ban the building of power plants after 2015 that fail an emissions check so tough any non-carbon-capturing coal power station would fail it. This poses two potential problems, one whereby Kingsnorth is built too soon, and another whereby it isn’t built at all.

The challenge if they try and build it too soon will be to so utterly disrupt the building of the power station that it can’t be completed and fired-up before 2015. With an early go-ahead, Kingsnorth could be under construction early next year, meaning a 6 year battle to hold off the building, much longer than many of us would like. Of course, it also potentially means more policing will be thrown at the project to get it through with fast enough.

It has already been implied more than once that the government could choose to see the building of these power stations as a matter of national security, and we have seen how policing works when “national security” perceived to be under threat, whether or not the person in question is a terrorist, or rather an unfortunate Brazillian. All the political will power in the world might not be enough, but with so many already too scared to take action, it might be difficult to mobilse the numbers required across the time required.

The other situation which could pose a massive problem is if they cancel the powerplant altogether. No dramatic civil disobedience leading to a victory for campaigners, just the unfortunate sense that the EU took the power from the hands of the public and a massive face-saving excercise from the government, whilst E.On ploughs money into capturing the renewables market and preventing localised power production.

Obviously in one sense this is a victory. The problem is, with so much committed to the blockading of power station construction, the only way popular action can come out on top is for a direct transfer of public feeling to oppose a new wave of nuclear power; but in the face of health concerns, security concerns (for the picture one can paint with the words “energy security” are even bleaker once coal is out of the equation) and the general sense that terrorists love nukes, it might be a “back to square one” senario, especially given not everyone is as opposed to nuclear. That said, there’d be some older people with nothing to lose but their pensions prepared to show us young ‘uns how its really done!

In conversations with Phil Thornhill, the major force behind Campaign against Climate Change, its definitely true that we have a huge problem if all eggs are thrown at one backet, only for the basket to be thrown away. Would an urban convergence still happen? Probably more likely than before, given the enthusiasm its already being shown. Copenhagen?Again, more time than ever to build for huge protests against cash-grab and land-grab solutions to Climate Change. One thing will be certain though: this weekend’s “Leave it in the Ground” gathering will become, broadly speaking, a waste of time.

Again, and I shall return to this more no doubt, the question is ceasing to be about whether to act on Climate Change, but rather, in who’s interests that action should be taken, and with that comes a challenge to reformulate the desires of the movement, something which often takes time.

So the question remains: does the British Government, always wanting to appear tough on the issue, have the where-with-all and determination to ignore both the public opinion below it, and the EU opinion above it, not to mention the recent views of the legal system? Or will it simply bury the bad news and pretend it was never going to happen? Obviously one is more desirable than the other, but neither offer promise for returning power to the populace, to building a deeper sense of democracy.

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Entry filed under: Activism, Climate Change, Economics, Environment, Europe, News, Participation, Politics.

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