Reacting to the release of new advice by the Independent Climate Change Commission that Britain should adopt an 80 per cent emissions reduction target by 2050, Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said:
"This new target, which scientists have been demanding for some time, should sound the death knell for new coal-fired power stations and Heathrow's proposed third runway. A simple back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that a new fleet of coal plants would hole the new target below the water line, while Labour's current ambitions for aviation expansion would finish it off."
"If we are to almost totally decarbonise our electricity sector in the next twenty years, as Turner suggests, then the new climate minister Ed Miliband must focus on cutting-edge renewables, energy efficiency and super-efficient combined heat and power plants. It can be done, but we'll know if this government is serious when they announce whether Heathrow expansion and a new coal plant at Kingsnorth will get the green light."
Greenpeace has calculated that a new generation of coal-fired power stations will account for half of Britain's permissible carbon emissions in 2050 now the 80 per cent target is to be adopted (an 80 per cent target equates to a 2050 emissions quota of 117.8 million tones of CO2 per year - a new generation of coal-fired stations would emit 56.2 million tonnes of CO2 per year, representing 48% of Britain's 2050 carbon budget.) Neither the utility companies pushing for consent to build eight new coal plants, nor the former energy secretary John Hutton, were proposing the plants captured and buried their carbon emissions. The new target is utterly inconsistent will awarding consent for new unabated coal-fired power stations.
The respected Tyndall Centre has found that aviation would account for Britain's entire carbon budget in 2050 if the industry continues to expand at expected levels.
For more information, contact the Greenpeace press office on 0207 865 8283.