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New coal-fired power plants a 'black and toxic Christmas present'

Indications that the government will allow the building of new coal-fired power stations before technology is developed to capture and store their carbon emissions dramatically undermines the UK’s claim to be leading the battle against climate change, says Christian Aid.

Christian Aid wants a moratorium imposed on the building of any such stations until the technology is in place to deal with greenhouse gas emissions.

Just one new station alone, the proposed replacement plant at Kingsnorth, in Kent, would emit in excess of seven million tonnes of CO2  a year - more than the annual emissions of 30 developing countries combined.

Energy Secretary Ed Miliband indicates in an interview in today’s Financial Times that new coal-fired power plants without carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities would be allowed for the next two decades.

Eliot Whittington, senior climate justice adviser at Christian Aid said: ‘We work in many vulnerable communities in poorer countries around the world which are already feeling the impact of climate change.

'A new generation of unabated coal-fired power stations in Britain will help exacerbate global warming, leading to deeper and more damaging changes in their environment.

'By apparently opening the door to new coal-fired power plants Ed Miliband has given the world a message that the UK isn’t serious about its desire to take a lead in battling climate change. That’s a pretty black and toxic present for Christmas.’

Christian Aid says there  is strong evidence that with proper investment, renewables such as wind and solar power along with improved energy efficiency in both domestic and commercial sectors will help fulfil the UK’s energy needs. It calls for resources to be spent on these power sources to fill any gaps that emerge in the UK’s generating capacity.

For more press information, please contact Andrew Hogg on 0207 523 2058

Notes to Editors:

  • Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in more than 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.

  • Christian Aid is a member of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition - the UK's largest group of people dedicated to action on climate change.

  • Together with faith-based development agencies in a number of other European countries, Christian Aid has launched a new climate justice campaign called Countdown to Copenhagen. www.countdowntocopenhagen.com' to focus on the need for a a new climate deal to be agreed at the next UN climate summit in Copenhagen in a year’s time.