Published on Friday, November 28, 2008 by The Independent/UK
by Elizabeth Barrett
Up to 30,000 climate refugees could be created if plans to build a new coal-fired power station go ahead, a report claimed today.
The findings by the World Development Movement were released as environmental activists prepare to stage a 48-hour protest today as part of their ongoing campaign against the new plant at Kingsnorth power station in Kent.
The group’s report entitled “Carbon Evictions: the UK’s role in the forced migration of climate refugees”, claims 30,000 people – the population of Strood, close to the site – would become refugees worldwide as a result of the new plant.
It estimated the UK would be responsible for 5 per cent of global C02 emissions causing a 4C rise in global warming, thus creating 10 million of the predicted 200 million climate refugees by 2050.
Benedict Southworth, director of the World Development Movement said: “The effects that climate change will have on the world include more and worse cyclones; flooding; drought; and sea level rises that will force people to leave their homes.
“The Government must wake up and realise that we can’t promise to reduce carbon emissions with one hand and give carbon intensive projects like the Kingsnorth coal power station the thumbs up with the other.
“If emissions aren’t reduced significantly in the UK, 10 million of the poorest people in the world will become homeless. Those people have done little to contribute to climate change, but they will suffer the worst consequences.”
Camp for Climate Action, who is organising the two-day action, said protests will take place across the country, with supporters planning to target plant owners E.ON and potentially banks that have invested in the company.
The group orchestrated a week-long heavily policed protest at the site near Hoo in August, culminating in a day of direct action, during which campaigners attempted to “shut down” the power station.
Susan Moore, of Camp for Climate Action, said: “E.ON, companies in its supply chain and anyone associated with new coal in the UK are all potential targets. Burning coal is the dirtiest way to produce electricity and we refuse to stand by as the green light is given to a new generation of coal fired power stations.”
The current E.ON-owned Kingsnorth plant is due to close in 2015.
However, the company plans to replace it with a new two-unit coal-fired power station, the first for 30 years, which it claims will be 20 per cent cleaner.
Emily Highmore, E.ON spokeswoman, said: “We are respectful of their right to protest. Our concern is that they do it peacefully and lawfully.”