27 april 2009

Climate change protest at Commons

BBC News, April 27, 2009

Four people have glued themselves to a statue in the Houses of Parliament in protest at the government's decision to allow new coal-fired power stations.

Three women and a man have stuck their hands together to form a chain around the statue of Viscount Falkland.

They wore red sashes in tribute to the suffragette who chained herself to the same statue, 100 years ago.

Police have sealed off the corridor in St Stephen's Hall, close to the main entrance to the House of Commons.

But business has continued as normal in the House of Commons - with statements about Titan Prisons being scrapped and the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico.

The protesters, from the group Climate Rush, say their actions are designed to be a wake-up call for the government.

It is 100 years to the day that a suffragette chained herself to the same statue as part of the campaign to secure votes for women - the authorities had to cut through the statue's sword to release her.

The protesters wore red Suffragette-style sashes and chanted the slogan "deeds not words", which was used during the campaign for the right to vote.

Last Thursday Energy Secretary Ed Miliband announced that funding would be found for up to four coal-fired power stations, as long as they were fitted with so-called carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

It would mean about 25% of energy output would have carbon trapped and stored underground, to prevent it being released into the atmosphere.

The idea was that when CCS was proven commercially and technically viable, which the government expects by 2020, those stations would then have five years to capture and store carbon from 100% of their energy output.

Mr Miliband said it could mean carbon emissions from coal would be reduced by 90% and would put the UK "in a world leadership position on CCS and coal".

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