You may well have heard about this already, so apologies – not least to Nick – for not being able to mention it, and invite your feedback on it, before my break.
David’s guitar and backing vocals, along with the bass of Guy Pratt, feature on a new song by Nick Laird-Clowes (Dream Academy, Trashmonk) called ‘Mayday’.
It’s part of the soundtrack to Nick Broomfield’s documentary, ‘A Time Comes: The Story of the Kingsnorth Six’, about a group of influential environmental activists who, in a protest against government plans to construct new coal-fired plants across Britain (you can see where they want them, here), bravely scaled a 220m chimney at Kingsnorth power station, Kent, back in 2007.
In all, 50 Greenpeace volunteers took over the site. They immobilised the conveyor belts that carry coal into the plant and chained themselves to machinery.
The resulting trial was historic.
You can watch how their story unfurled in a 20-minute documentary, and download the track, here.
Naturally, I’d like to hear what you think of both, but I’d also enjoy a tasty discussion about coal’s validity in the 21st century and about ordinary people taking up their right to protest, which is what the song is all about.
One fact to bear in mind, if you please: Seven new (marginally more efficient) coal plants would wipe out half of the UK’s carbon budget, making it impossible to reach the target of reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80% (compared with 1990 figures) by 2050.
That target figure doesn’t take into consideration emissions from shipping and aviation, but that’s a grumble for another day.
A German report commissioned by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council claims that, by 2050, the USA could be coal-free, drawing nearly all its electricity from renewable supplies, cutting emissions by more than 80% and creating 14 million jobs in the process.
Germany, by the way, although experiencing similar resistance to the construction of new coal-powered plants, is on target to be using 100% renewable energy sources by 2050. (Germany already produces 200 times more solar, and ten times more wind, power than the UK.)
If you’d like to Give Coal the Boot, and let Prime Minister Brown know how you feel about coal (that’s give coal the boot, not Gordon; give him a break, it’s not all his fault), stamp your footprint on the Greenpeace map – it doesn’t matter where in the world you are. The same is true if you’d like to contact energy giant E.ON.
As has been said a million times before, we only have one Earth, so issues such as this have consequences for everybody.