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Shell’s “humanitarian” gesture in settling out of court is entirely self-serving – Kate Allen, Director, Amnesty International UK home


Miliband must end coal emissions

  • The Guardian, Wednesday 17 June 2009

The new consultation on the role of coal in Britain’s energy supply, published today by the secretary of state for climate change and energy,Ed Miliband, is critically important for the future of this country and the wider world. In April this year, he declared that “the era of new unabated coal is over”. Given the scale and the urgency of the fight against climate change, this was welcome news, but a policy framework to deliver this outcome has not yet been announced.

In the run up to critical climate change talks in Copenhagen at the end of the year, the government now has the opportunity to provide international leadership. This leadership must begin at home. Coal burning is one of the main causes of climate pollution around the world. The credibility of our climate policies depends on ruling out emissions from new coal power stations.

The UK needs a new energy system, founded on energy efficiency and renewable power, to provide the engine for a world-leading, low-carbon economy. A policy which completely rules out emissions from new coal and sets a deadline for all existing fossil fuel stations to meet similar standards is essential both for climate security and business certainty.

Transforming our energy system will create jobs, reduce our dependence on imported fuels and drastically cut our CO2 emissions. It will also help protect the lives of millions of people, including many of the world’s poorest, from the impacts of climate change; and prevent the irrevocable loss of millions of species of wildlife. In a time of trouble and uncertainty, we trust that we can grasp this unique chance to build a stable, prosperous and equitable future.
Daleep Mukarji 
Director, Christian Aid
Andy Atkins 
Executive director, Friends of the Earth 
John Sauven 
Executive director, Greenpeace 
Barbara Stocking 
Director, Oxfam 
Graham Wynne 
Chief executive, RSPB 
Deborah Doane 
Director, World Development Movement
David Nussbaum 
Chief executive, Officer, WWF UK

• Shell’s “humanitarian” gesture in settling out of court is entirely self-serving (It is time to move on, 11 June). Of course the company wants to “move on”, but unfortunately this isn’t an option for the people of the Niger Delta, a majority of whom depend on the natural environment for their livelihoods. Oil-related pollution, including spills and waste dumping, has caused serious environmental damage to soil, water and air, with far-reaching implications for health and standards of living.

All of this could have been avoided had the oil companies been held properly accountable for decades of adverse impacts on human rights. Corporate charity is not the solution. 
Kate Allen 
Director, Amnesty International UK

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