DAY OF MASS ACTION BEGINS WITH CARPARK BLOCKADE AND OFFICE OCCUPATION
August 23, 2010
The day of mass action targeting RBS and the fossil fuel industry is kicking into full swing as two groups of protestors stage direct actions at the site of two climate criminals. Seven protestors have superglued themselves to the executive carpark of the RBS industrial estate, while another group of seven have taken over the offices of Forth energy in Leith.
PROTESTORS RISK ARREST TO DROP BANNERS AND OCCUPY FORTH ENERGY HEAD OFFICE UNTIL DEMANDS ARE MET
Video live stream of the action is available at qik.com/sinbad68
Leith—A group of 7 activists have just targetted the office of the headquarters of Forth Energy. Two have scaled the roof of the building and have hung banners reading ‘BIO MASS HEALTH HAZARD’ and ‘BIO MASS = CLIMATE CHANGE’. Three are inside, and two have chained themselves to the front of the building. The activists, part of the Climate Camp outside of RBS headquarters in Edinburgh, are targeting Forth Energy because of their plans to build four environmentally destructive biomass (wood-burning) energy power stations in Scotland. The office takeover began at 8 am this morning.
Location: 1 Prince of Wales, Dock, Leith, EH6 7DX
Why are environmental activists risking arrest by taking such drastic action? Forth Energy, which labels itself a ‘green’ energy company, is misleadingly pushing biomass as a solution to climate change. In reality these power stations will increase carbon emissions, pollute local air, increase deforestation and lead to the displacement of native peoples in the global south. Wood burned in the proposed Lieth, Grangemouth, Rosyth Port and Dundee Port sites will be fed primarily from wood chip freighted in from abroad.
Biomass power stations are more climate damaging than traditional fossil fuel power stations because of the destruction of virgin woodlands that they inevitably require. If built these power stations will mean even more wood imports from abroad and even more destruction of rainforests and old growth forests to be replaced with plantations of eucalyptus in places like South America. For example, the smokestack CO2 emissions from a biomass power station are commonly around 1.5 times greater than those from a coal power station with the same energy output.
In addition to harming the global climate, these power stations will severely impact the health of the communities where they are built. All biomass burning releases significant quantities of nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). Such pollution increases the risks of respiratory diseases, heart disease, cancer and premature mortality including infant mortality and miscarriage. Leith power station alone would generate nitrogen oxide and particulates equivalent to 100,000 more cars while Edinburgh and Grangemouth power stations are 200m to the nearest home and Dundee power station just 100m.
Demand for imported wood will also mean native peoples and peasant farmers could be displaced from their land and intimidated, killed, injured or enslaved to make room for new mono culture wood plantations as routinely happens in many developing countries.
Despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary, the UK and EU governments class biomass power stations as renewable, green energy. Forth energy will receive £300 million in subsidies annually for their four biomass power stations and this is to be funded through an increase on utility bills.
Maryla Hart, spokesperson for the group of Climate Camp activists “Biomass is exacerbating climate change, destroying precious forests and pulling money away from real, sustainable solutions like energy efficiency measures, wind, solar and tidal power. Forth Energy can expect growing opposition until they scrap the idea of biomass altogether’.
For more information about biomass and the campaign against it, please visit www.biofuelwatch.org.uk, http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/Biomess.
Notes to editor:
- The four power stations which will produce a total 560MW will burn a total of 5.6 million tones of wood a year.
- The four power stations would burn approximately the equivalent of 2/3 of all the wood the UK currently produces every year.
- The UK’s total demand for wood for pulp, paper and biomass is already altogether unsustainable as the UK relies on net imports for over 80% for its wood and wood products.