UK carbon hypocrisy: dumping dirty energy on developing countries

Press release - 12 July, 2002
The United Kingdom is practising hypocrisy on a grand scale under the Kytoto Protocol.

Dirty coal fired power is still being exported from the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom, the supposed world leader in reducing climate-changing greenhouse gases, is exporting so much dirty energy technology to developing countries that it would cancel out half its emission reductions under the Kyoto Protocol.

A report launched by Greenpeace today has found that since 1997 the United Kindgom's UK's Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD) has funded coal-fired power stations in developing countries that total 13.3 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year. At the same time the UK Prime Minister Tony Blair promised to reduce the UK's emissions by 26.5 million tonnes of carbon. Meanwhile the UK's export credit agency has not funded a single renewable energy project.

"This is typical of the hypocrisy of rich Northern countries that boast about doing the right thing for the environment," said Red Constantino, of Greenpeace South East Asia. "They keep the clean technology for their own use, but they still want to make money out of dumping their dirty, old-fashioned power plants on the South. Just because there is a growing demand for energy in developing countries it doesn't mean they should have to accept dangerous, out-dated polluting power."

While the UK continues to fund the export of dirty coal technologies to poorer nations, the last coal-powered station to be built in the UK was constructed in 1972.

The UK's export credit body has funded coal-fired power stations in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, India, China, Zimbabwe, Turkey, South Africa and Indonesia. The report Exporting Pollution: Double Standards in UK Energy Exports examines in detail two in Thailand and the Philippines.

In one case, highlighted in the report, local communities in the Prachuab Khiri Khan region of Thailand are waging a battle to defeat the proposed construction of a coal power plant in an area of outstanding beauty. The local groups want renewable energy solutions, but a British company has already approached the ECGD in the hope of securing support for the coal-burning plant.

The report is part of Greenpeace's Countdown to Johannesburg, which will involve activities across the globe. Greenpeace is campaigning for governments to take the lead in global sustainability, and stop abdicating their responsibilities to corporations for protection of the planet.

View the report