Greenpeace Blog

Amazon timber shipment blocked in France

Posted by jamie — 18 March 2008 at 7:12pm - Comments

Greenpeace volunteers boarding the Galina III

Boarding the Galina III yesterday © Greenpeace/Karl Joseph

Yesterday afternoon, the crew of one of our ships - the Arctic Sunrise - swung into action in the French port of Caen. Their mission: to prevent a shipment of Amazon timber, acquired from companies linked to illegal logging activities, from entering the EU. And after nearly 24 hours, they're still going strong.

The timber is aboard the Galina III and, as it tried to enter the port, five Greenpeace volunteers (including a group from the UK) climbed aboard where they attached themselves to two of the ship's cranes. Since then, the Galina has been unable to dock to unload its cargo, a mixture of timber species with wonderfully exotic names: amarelao, macaranduba, ipe, garapeira, cumaru and jarana to name a few. And as I write, the team on the cranes is still holding out.

Kingsnorth: now RSPB are demanding action

Posted by jossc — 14 March 2008 at 6:39pm - Comments

The anti-coal storm gathering around the head of Business Secretary John Hutton, the government minister championing new coal-fired power stations, is growing daily. Latest to weigh-in on the side of reason are the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). As you can see from the following quote, they are less than impressed with Hutton's stance;

If the UK government must use coal, the dirtiest fuel source there is, then it must also wait until CCS facilities are up and running. There is no rationale for using coal again until its climate damage can be contained.

Are BAA's plans in terminal decline?

Posted by bex — 14 March 2008 at 5:30pm - Comments

Goddard cartoon

Image reproduced with kind permission of Private Eye Magazine and Clive Goddard.

Luckily for BAA, the Queen doesn't seem to have taken offence at apparently being banned from Heathrow in the run up to climate camp last year. This morning, she tootled off to Hounslow to officially open Heathrow's new Terminal 5 (although the public opening won't happen 'til the 27th).

Kingsnorth coal campaigners plead 'not guilty'

Posted by jossc — 14 March 2008 at 4:18pm - Comments

The Kingsnorth 5

Five of the 'Kingsnorth Six' at the top of the 200m chimney

Today five six of our volunteers faced their first court hearing over the shutting down of one of Britain's dirtiest power stations, at Kingsnorth in Kent, last October. They pleaded 'not guilty' at Maidstone Crown Court to charges of criminal damage and trespass. The charges relate to climbing a 200m smokestack on the site and painting a message to the prime minister - "GORDON BIN IT" in huge letters down the side. They took action because the government is considering considering proposals for a new generation of coal-fired plants.

Nuclear costs in the US go up, up and away!

Posted by jamie — 13 March 2008 at 6:13pm - Comments

News from the Sunshine State reminds us that nuclear power is only an option for companies with very deep pockets. Or a hand in their customers' pockets, to be precise.

Progress (ha!) Energy have tripled the estimate for the new plant it's planning to build in Florida, saying that the new price tag will be an eye-watering $17 billion, and they haven't even got permission to start building yet. How are they going to pay for this? Why, by bumping up bills for its existing customers of course. "You can't avoid the notion that nuclear has an upfront cost for the customer," said Jeff Lyash, president and chief executive of Progress (double ha!) Energy Florida. "It does."

And that's just the beginning. We all know that, once the diggers move in, the costs for a nuclear power station take on a mysterious life of their own, spiralling ever upward. Just look at the delay-ridden, cash-sucking plant currently being built in Finland. It's the same in this country as well, with costs for dealing with existing waste (never mind the waste generated by a hypothetical fleet of new nuclear power stations) going repeatedly skywards.

So if the day comes when another load of nuclear power stations are being built here, remember it won't be private companies picking up the elephantine costs: one way or another, it'll be us.

Green budget? More like dirty brown

Posted by benet — 12 March 2008 at 3:06pm - Comments

Budget 2008

We were promised the "greenest budget yet". We've been given a budget that's dirty brown. Instead of grasping the opportunity to restructure our economy to deal with the threat of catastrophic climate change, the Chancellor has actively damaged his environmental credentials and hurt efforts to reduce UK CO2 emissions.

It is not just that the green taxes announced will be ineffectual; it's that there is no recognition of the scale of the problem or fundamental changes needed if we are to decarbonise our economy.

Evasion and newspeak: government action vs ecological reality

Posted by bex — 11 March 2008 at 6:37pm - Comments

Alex Steffen of Worldchanging recently wrote an excellent piece called Who Will Tell the People? And How? about the yawning chasm between the reality of climate change and the failure of government to bring in the massive changes needed. Talking about US emissions cuts, he writes:

We're running into a situation here where the acceptable political action is to move from A to C, but where realism demands that - if we want to dodge a catastrophic collision with ecological reality - we move from A to say Q. And that gap, between C and Q, is large enough to lose a future in.

As you're reading this blog, you probably don't need reminding about the catastrophic collision with ecological reality Steffen mentions. With stakes this high, the changes needed (Steffen's A to Q) are profound, fundamental and cross all facets of human existence - from our energy and transport systems to, dare I say it, our social and economic systems.

Brass neck or corporate suicide? BAA goes for Stansted expansion

Posted by bex — 11 March 2008 at 5:04pm - Comments

You'd think being slammed for bad science, government collusion and involvement in reverse engineering a consultation in the space of a fortnight would be enough to give a company pause for thought.

Not BAA, who have just submitted an application to build a second runway at Stansted. The runway would add the equivalent of 11 million tonnes of CO2 to the UK's annual carbon footprint, bulldoze a thousand acres of countryside and make Stansted bigger than Heathrow is today.

Hutton's coal-fired 'kite' shot down in flames

Posted by jossc — 10 March 2008 at 6:06pm - Comments

Coal: the most polluring of all energy sources

John Hutton, the man responsible for Britain's energy policy, gave his explicit support this morning for a new generation of coal-fired power stations.

Choosing the stormiest day of the year so far to deliver a speech to members of the right-wing think-tank the Adam Smith Institute, the Secretary of State for Business flew a dangerous kite when he insisted that coal has a "key role" to play in energy provision, and accused anyone who disagreed with him (that's us, folks, along with Prince Charles, Al Gore, the head of NASA, opposition parties and thousands of others) of playing "gesture politics".

Deep Green: Greening the Titanic

Posted by bex — 7 March 2008 at 4:38pm - Comments

Deep Green - Rex Weyler

Welcome to the second of an almost-monthly column on Greenpeace past and present by Rex Weyler - author, journalist, ecologist and long-time Greenpeace trouble-maker. You can sign up to receive your own copy by email.

Elle magazine announces that eco-friendly fashions are hip and features Stella McCartney vegan, silk dress sandals at $495, which would work well on a date in the $100,000 Tesla electric sports car. "In this epoch of global warming," declares Green Guide online fashion consultant Anne Wallace, "fall fashion rules are undergoing climate change: it's OK to wear knee-high faux fur boots with a light cotton skirt and wool sweater." Vogue magazine advises, "prepare for erratic weather by putting warmer wraps over something skimpy." Like your awareness of the issues?

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