Photo by Felix Clay / Greenpeace
It’s not often that you meet a life size polar bear on your way into work but that is what greeted staff at Cairn Energy in Edinburgh this morning. The Scottish oil and explorer is being targeted by Greenpeace as part of an ongoing campaign to stop the company from exploring in the waters of the Arctic off Greenland.
Several activists – along with the bear – blockaded the entrance to Cairn’s office. Earlier in the day, Geenpeace along with other environment organisations WWF and Friends of the Earth wrote to Sir Bill Gammell, Cairn’s CEO, demanding he publishes the company’s emergency response plan to any incident or accident in the Arctic. Activists from the group scaled one of the rigs Cairn was using last year in Greenland and managed to stop work there for a bit.
Another day, another complaint about the carbon floor price. This controversial policy has united an unlikely alliance of green campaigners and heavy industry in opposition.
Greens don’t like it because it benefits the nuclear industry, while manufacturers are disgruntled about having to pay more for electricity.
But Greenpeace and WWF had a legitimate claim that government policy was incoherent – on the one hand promising no subsidies to nuclear power but at the same time implementing a policy that could indeed earn such generators billions of pounds. The EEF, which represents manufacturers, on the other hand, is criticising the energy department for doing exactly what it intends to do: push up the cost of energy.
As reported in the FT on Monday, green campaigners in the UK have stepped up their attack on the carbon floor price, calling it a “windfall” for the nuclear industry.
They first made this warning in the immediate aftermath of the electricity market reform announcement, but now Greenpeace and WWF have put some numbers to their arguments.
They say the move could benefit the nuclear industry by up to £3.4bn, which would effectively be a subsidy, and so breach the coalition agreement.
Bad news this morning on the world’s attempts to curb carbon emissions. Two new reports, one from the UN Environmental Programme ahead of Cancun, and one from WWF and EcoFys on European government policy, paint similarly gloomy pictures.
The UN report focuses on the “carbon gap”, between the level of CO2 likely to be produced globally if climate policies stay the same and the level needed to meet the UN’s target of limiting global warming to 2°C.
Here’s some news that will cheer both environmentalists and hydrocarbon producers.
The UK government is going to open up its CCS trials to gas plants as well as coal ones. After the first demonstration, the next batch of three will be open to applications from gas-fired power plants.
Chris Huhne said in a statement:
We are determined to ensure the UK continues to be at the forefront of CCS development – and this sets us on course to lead the world in the development of CCS on gas as well as coal.