Climate change campaigners will meet one of the UK’s biggest greenhouse polluters on Friday 24 August 2007 to urge the company to curb its emissions. They hope that personal persuasion as well as political pressure can bring about concrete change to save the planet.
The activists are walking 1,000 miles across the UK in a march organised by Christian Aid to highlight the severe harm that climate change is inflicting on the world’s poorest people.
The marchers will visit the Rugeley power station owned by International Power (IP), which is a major international electricity generator with power stations on five continents and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
The company reports that in 2006 its total global emissions were equivalent to 61 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2). That is more than the annual emissions of many developing countries, including Morocco, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Cuba and Ecuador
Furthermore, International Power’s emissions rose by almost 20 per cent between 2005 and 2006, in stark contrast to the deep cuts that are vital in order to limit the damage to the world’s climate and people.
International Power is also the second least carbon-efficient of six UK-based electricity generators analysed for Christian Aid’s Coming Clean report. This means that, for every unit of electricity it generates, the company emits more CO2 than all but one of the five other companies studied.
Following publication of the report in February, many Christian Aid supporters wrote to the company, asking it to commit to a five per cent a year reduction in its emissions.
The firm responded with a statement on its website, defending IP’s refusal to set targets for reducing its emissions. It also defends the continued future growth of those emissions saying that its carbon efficiency (emissions per unit of electricity generated) is improving.
Paul Brannen, Christian Aid head of campaigns, will join the marchers at the meeting with International Power. He hopes it will help to persuade the company to change its 'business as usual' policy.
"We will be highlighting the devastation that climate change is already inflicting on poor people in the countries where Christian Aid works," he said. "The world needs major greenhouse polluters such as International Power to accept their responsibility and publicly agree to dramatically cut their emissions, through greater efficiency and a switch to cleaner sources of energy."
Brannen continued: "Cuts are vital, in order to limit the catastrophic damage that the planet’s most vulnerable people will suffer as a result of worse floods, droughts and storms, as well as sea level rise."
The climate change march began in Northern Ireland in mid-July and has since passed through Scotland and northern England. It will continue through the Midlands, Wales and southern England before finishing up in London on 2 October 2007.
Half the 20 core marchers are from the UK, while half are from poor countries including Tajikistan, Kenya, South Africa, India and Bangladesh.
Statistical source: World Resources Institute - see www.cait.wri.org
Read Christian Aid's report 'Coming clean: revealing the UK's true carbon footprint'.