Lord Smith, the new head of the Environment Agency, this week gave a cautionary warning to the government over the folly of continuing with climate damaging super projects like the third runway at Heathrow, and the proposed new coal power station at Kingsnorth in Kent. He also highlighted the threat that climate change induced sea level rises and coastal erosion will have on the UK’s coast line and that tough choices would have to be made over whether to defend threatened communities.
The World Development Movement has also put two and two together; stating that plans for a new coal power plant are completely incompatible with plans to tackle climate change. And that huge areas of Kent’s coastline will be seriously threatened by predicted sea level rises, demonstrating the sad irony of stationing a new carbon belching coal power station in the very same area.
Millions of people all over the world are already suffering as a result of climate change. It is usually the poorest people who are left most vulnerable to increasingly severe weather phenomena such as typhoons and flooding. For coastal communities in the UK, Bangladesh, the Philippines and across the globe, whose homes, jobs and unfortunately lives are threatened, the government must be resolute in its ambition to tackle climate change. It cannot be, or even give the illusion of, being serious about this if it says yes to new runways and new coal power stations.