It's been a busy couple of days here in the UK. Yesterday morning, Greenpeace volunteers took over Kingsnorth coal fired power station - potentially the site for the UK's first new coal fired power station in over 30 years. (Yes, just as the world urgently needs to cut emissions, the UK government's considering building a new coal plant that would emit as much carbon dioxide as the world's 24 lowest emitting countries combined).
The energy company involved - E.ON - served an injunction, and all the Greenpeace volunteers inside the power plant have now been arrested. A few have just been released in the last couple of hours, after being held overnight.
There are loads of updates on the UK website but I thought I'd share one that comes straight from the source of the action. This is from Joss, who was chained to a coal conveyor belt inside the plant yesterday:
Al Gore recently expressed surprise that there weren't thousands of young people blocking bulldozers and preventing them from building new coal-fired power stations; this morning, I was part of team of 60 trying to do just that - shutting down a coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent where the owners want to build a brand new station. I'm with one team stopping the conveyor belts by pressing the emergency stop buttons and chaining ourselves to the mechanism while at the same time another group are scaling the smokestack and painting "Gordon Bin It" in 10ft-high letters down the side. The Kingsnorth station has enough coal in its boilers to function for a few hours. After that is used up, sometime this afternoon it will cease to emit the estimated 20,000 tonnes of CO2 that it emits every day.
E.ON, the German group behind the plan for the new coal plant, is Britain's single biggest greenhouse gas polluter. The company is aiming to have Kingsnorth 2 built by 2012. Despite claims that the new plant will be more efficient, it is estimated that it will emit 8.4m tonnes of climate-changing pollutants every year, compared to the 8.7m tonnes the existing plant released in 2006, and nowhere near the 80% reductions needed to combat global warming. The company also claims the new station would be capable of being fitted with so-called "Carbon capture and storage" technology. But even the chancellor, Alistair Darling, says the technology is "still in the foothills" and "may never work" while the UN predicts it won't have a significant impact for decades.
If the proposed new power station goes ahead it will be the first coal-fired power station in the UK in 30 years - perhaps opening the floodgates to more. And it's not as if there aren't any alternatives - we should be investing instead in energy efficiency, renewable energy and decentralised energy. For example, the London Array offshore wind farm will provide energy for 750,000 homes.
If Gordon Brown allows this to happen how can he go to the UN climate negotiations in Bali this December and seriously ask China to curb its power station building programme?
That's why I'm lying under a conveyor belt covered head to foot in coal dust - over to you Gordon - don't bottle it on this one, the consequences might be serious for all of us.
You can join the call for no new coal by writing to Gordon Brown.