Page last updated at 17:22 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

UK faces 'climate criminal' claim

The proposed new Kingsnorth power station
The new power station would be built at Kingsnorth in Kent

Campaigners have said the UK will be a "climate criminal" if it allows a new coal-fired power station in Kent.

In a letter to climate change minister Ed Miliband, the World Development Movement (WDM) demands the scrapping of plans for Kingsnorth.

The WDM says new coal-fired power stations will increase the impact of climate change on poor countries.

The government said it was determined to cut CO2 emissions and no decision has yet been made on Kingsnorth.

More than 30 organisations, from countries such as Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Uganda and Indonesia, have signed the letter.

We are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050


Department of Energy and Climate Change

"New coal power stations in the UK will exacerbate the impacts of climate change on impoverished communities in the global South," it says.

"A decision to support new coal power stations will confirm the UK as a climate criminal in the international climate change negotiations."

The WDM says climate change caused by the rich world's consumption of fossil fuels will increase floods, droughts, sea levels and disease.

And it claims hundreds of millions of people face having their livelihoods destroyed as global temperatures rise.

In a statement from the Department of Energy and Climate Change however, said: "We are determined to do all we can to cut CO2 in our atmosphere.

'Greener' energy

"We are the first country in the world to introduce a legally-binding framework to cut greenhouse gas emissions and through our ambitious Climate Change Act we are committed to reducing them by 80% by 2050.

"A decision on Kingsnorth has not been taken yet, and is not expected until the government finalises its policy on carbon capture readiness."

The proposed power station at Kingsnorth would be the first coal-fired plant to be built in the UK for more than two decades.

Energy company E.ON says the new power station would be 20% cleaner that an existing plant at the Kingsnorth site.

Last August climate change protesters held a week-long camp at the site.

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The accusation was made in an open letter to the energy and climate change secretary Ed Milliband



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