Hansen Asks England to Shut Down its Coal Plants

NASA's James Hansen takes his global warming message to England, telling them in no uncertain terms that they must stop their reliance on coal-derived electricity. He dismisses 'clean coal' and even 'carbon caps' if coal plants continue to operate.
February 18, 2009, 7am PST | Irvin Dawid
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"Coal is the single greatest threat to civilisation and all life on our planet", writes James Hansen, director of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. "He was the first scientist to warn the US Congress of the dangers of climate change."

"The climate is nearing tipping points. If we do not rapidly slow fossil-fuel emissions over the next few decades, we will see effects that are irreversible."

"The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death. When I testified against the proposed Kingsnorth power plant, I estimated that in its lifetime it would be responsible for the extermination of about 400 species.

If we cut off the (world's) largest source of carbon dioxide - coal - it will be practical to bring carbon dioxide back to 350 ppm, lower still if we improve agricultural and forestry practices, increasing carbon storage in trees and soil.

The three countries most responsible, per capita, for filling the air with carbon dioxide from fossil fuels are the UK, the US and Germany, in that order.

Coal is not only the largest fossil fuel reservoir of carbon dioxide, it is the dirtiest fuel. Coal is polluting the world's oceans and streams with mercury, arsenic and other dangerous chemicals. The dirtiest trick that governments play on their citizens is the pretence that they are working on "clean coal" or that they will build power plants that are "capture-ready" in case technology is ever developed to capture all pollutants."

Thanks to Patricia Matajcek

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Published on Sunday, February 15, 2009 in The Observer
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