The British government’s recent announcement about a new generation of coal-fired power stations has been criticized by a prominent Baptist campaigner.


David Golding said Energy Secretary Ed Miliband’s plan, announced in April, will actually result in an increase of carbon dioxide emissions at the very time they need to decline.


In an announcement cautiously praised by some environmental groups, Miliband stated that all new stations will be required to use carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology by 2025.


Golding, a visiting fellow with the School of Marine Science and Technology and an honorary chaplain with Newcastle University, is the chair of PANiC Stations (People Against New Coal-fired power Stations).


He told The Baptist Times that while he welcomed the government’s new commitment to CCS, it does not go far enough.


Golding explained that the four new stations mentioned by Miliband will initially each have a demonstration carbon capture and storage unit capable of capturing no more than a quarter of the station’s emissions.


He would have preferred two demonstration plants with CCS for their entire output of CO2 from the start.


“These new stations will start belching out their carbon – tens of millions of tons of it every year – at the very time (around 2015) when global emissions need to begin to decline, according to the Committee on Climate Change and leading climate scientists,” Golding said.


“And this pollution will continue until the technology is shown to work and up to five years afterwards,” he said. “This is surely a classic example of the ‘ineffective governance’ lambasted by the 2,500 scientists who met in Copenhagen in March.”


Golding warned because of the unproven nature of CCS technology, “we risk locking ourselves into a high-carbon future for decades to come.”


Once the stations are built, it is unlikely they will be closed down in the future should carbon capture and storage prove to be ineffective or uneconomic, he explained.


This article appeared originally in The Baptist Times of Great Britain.

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