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Cheers - AE

Saturday, 10 October 2009

An inconvenient climate criminal.

Hugo Rifkind on Kingsnorth.
Picture a climate criminal. What does he look like? Mine is a white bloke, in his twenties, and with dreadlocks. He was in this newspaper yesterday, and on his naked chest were written the words “No New Coal”.

I doubt he’d much like to be called a climate criminal. I suspect, in fact, he might be a bit miffed. But it’s thanks to the likes of him that the energy company E.ON has shelved plans for a new coal power station at Kingsnorth in Kent. Is that, unequivocally, a victory for the environment? I’m not so sure. I’m worried it might be the exact opposite.

You see, Dreadlocks Man, logically, there are two possible scenarios for the future of coal. In one scenario, nobody burns any more coal, ever again. Not E.ON, not anybody. Not even in the developing world, where they’ve got access to vast amounts of cheap coal and a rapidly expanding appetite for power, and an opinion on man-made global warming that is, roughly speaking, analogous to our opinion on the tooth fairy. The other scenario is that people do continue burning coal, but just not here.

Tell me, Mr Dreadlocks, which of these scenarios do you consider to be the more likely? Don’t rush. I’ll go first. Let’s see, I dunno, hmmm, maybe the second? At a push?
Spot on if you ask me, as is the rest of it.
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