NUM on climate camp- open letter and call for debate

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Joined: 22-05-08
Jul 14 2008 05:33
NUM on climate camp- open letter and call for debate

discussion on indymedia. is anyone directly responding or forwarding discussion i wonder

Dear Camp for Climate Action,

Firstly thank you for contacting me. I'm hopping mad about what I've
heard, but I may not have been told the whole story. I can tell you too
the mining community whats left of us feel utterly betrayed by rumours
about you swinging all your efforts to close down what remains of the coal
industry. There are debates about counter-demonstrations etc and press
statements from the power workers and miners. So its vital we do not take
up cudgels over this unless and until and at least that we know where each
other stand. I was a matter of interest with the National General
secretary of the NUM and the Yorkshire Area Leadership last weekend and
they are spitting feathers about the Drax demonstration. The slogans on
the demonstration and the statements made to the press by the protestsrs
demonstrated no concern for the miners, railway workers or power workers.
There was no consultation with us, no debate with us, no seeing what we
wanted or how we see the world or how we can see if there is anything is
common. 'Leave It In The Ground' was the banner which was unfurled at
Drax, 'it' being the coal, and the miners ? where do we leave them ? that
bit wasn't answered. We know where John Major and Maggie Thatcher and
Harold Wilson left us, on the dung heap, and most of us are still there.

Our own demands would be two fold, firstly we want to see the opening of
'clean coal technology stations'. Yes the technology exists and had done
since the 50s but nobody was interested in applying it. There are at least
two methods, but the latest one is carbon capture, thats not the end of
the story but here isn't the place to elaborate. Enough to say its not a
con, it does produce massive savings in CO2 emissions, plus the bi product
of the Hatfield Main system is hydrogen and energy conservation. Which are
added bonuses on the carbon capture.

Secondly we want to see international ('fair trade' if you like )
standards applied to all imported coal and a level playing field in terms
of health and safety, conditions, hours and union recognition . Countries
with mass slaughter in the collieries should not be allowed to dump coal
here at the expense of workers in their countries and unemployment for
miners here.

65 million Tonnes of coal is burned in Britain each year only about 18
million of it is mined here, despite the fact that British coal is the
cheapest deep mined coal in the world. It is brought here in part because
rather than fit wipers and efficient filters to all power stations, they
import coal which produces less sulphur and ash and carbon when burned.
Instead they burn the miners at source.

There is about 500 years of coal in Britain, it can provide a breathing
space, to develop renewable sources, certainly solar, yes tidal, though
not destructive wind estates which are laying siege to the bits of free
land and crags and moorland we have left.

The governments main plan is and always been to make Britain Nuclear
dependant. That is why they closed down the mines in the first place.
Climate Camp must be very careful not to cross on the wrong side of the
barricade on this issue. Not to be used to promote Nuclear energy by
making the biggest focus coal .

The spokesperson at Drax this month said there was NO PLACE for coal in
Britain's energy supply ! Thats fairly final. The impact of that
statement, coming as it does with a middle class voice and total
indifference to the situation in the coal communities, is unlikely to
strike any cords this side of the tracks.

I understand you intend to shut down Kingsnorth Power Station in August. I
don't know this station in particular but I was informed this was a
station which was using clean coal technology ? Is that not right ?
whether it is or not we have to ask why coal ?.

Coal is not the biggest producer of CO2 its about the fourth and thats
with unfettered uncontrolled emissions from the third world in particular.
It could be massively reduced by demanding all coal which comes here meets
minimum standards of health and safety and union rights. That the
exporting countries themselves adopt clean coal technologies. Such a
tighter focus would be entirely more credible and principled than simply
saying 'close down all coal power stations, don't build new ones, and
exterminate the last of the miners and their communities'.

I cant say I'm keen on entering the lions den of the Climate Camp as a
former miners leader and life long coal miner. I'm tempted to say I think
we speak differant languages. However I shall pencil this is my calender
and see if I can attend along with any of the NUM leadership in order that
we can put our point view across and hopefully get you to adopt a more
balanced approach to the question of power generation and working class
expectations and demands.

You have my permission to put this letter on the website.

The World For The Workers

David Douglass
David Douglass

Tacks's picture
Joined: 8-11-05
Jul 15 2008 23:14
woooo wrote:

discussion on indymedia. is anyone directly responding or forwarding discussion i wonder?


as this wasn't posted by Dave Douglas my response isn't relevant.

Joined: 22-05-08
Jul 15 2008 02:58

sorry i'm not dave? i have linked a few more related posts here

also see

Joined: 16-01-05
Jul 15 2008 09:52


Open statement and invitation to the trade union movement from the Climate Camp

climate camp - networking group | 14.07.2008 18:50 | Climate Chaos | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements | London
An invitation to the trade union movement to engage in a dialogue with the Camp for Action.

As you may be aware the Camp for Climate Action will be happening near Kingsnorth in Kent, august 3 -11th 2008.

The camp is an open event to which all are welcome to attend and debate issues about how we can stop climate change. We will also explore practical examples of how we can live, work and take decisions together, in truly democratic and sustainable ways.

We aim to shut down Kingsnorth power station on the 9th of August for one day. We want to clarify that this action is not against the workers at Kingsnorth, nor does it mean we think the UK coal industry should be shut down overnight. It means we want to show the seriousness of the threat both to humans and our environment, now and into the future. This crisis affects the world’s poorest people first and hardest and is a social justice issue. We feel that we must take collective, political direct action to address it.

We recognise the history of political attacks on the miners and the union movement and we firmly resist that. We recognise the need for jobs, viable communities and a strong trade union movement, and we want a decent, fair and long term deal for all, including miners, energy workers and their communities. We believe we face a common enemy of short-termism, capitalism and the exploitation of people and nature that capitalism inevitably brings.

Coal is currently the dirtiest of the fossil fuels and it is an industry that is going to have to respond to the climate crisis. We are against any proposal that would increase our carbon emissions, as a new power station at Kingsnorth would. Extremely rapid reductions in emissions are necessary if we are not to watch millions suffer and die in the most preventable disaster the world has ever known.

We know much hope surrounds ‘clean coal technology’, but we see a lot of ‘greenwash’ there too. ‘Clean coal’ means many different things and is an idea not a single technology. We know many within the coal industry are pushing carbon capture and storage – CCS – and this is proposed for one part of the new Kingsnorth plant. It may offer solutions but on the scale required it is still only theoretical and will no doubt have many costs. Like many technical proposals its impact will depend on the political context it is used in. We are concerned that it does not marginalise solutions that could have a real impact today, like energy efficiency, renewables, local production, public transport etc. All of these could provide thousands of new jobs immediately, and help make our society healthier.

We don’t have a blueprint for the future but we do have a clear sense of the values which will guide it – environmental sustainability and social justice for all. We locate the roots of climate change within the ideas and practice of capitalism. Consequently we know that we cannot ‘solve’ climate change without addressing the way our world is run for private profit rather than social gain and for endless growth rather than satisfying needs.

We have adopted the model of ‘Just Transition’, in which the needs of workers are paramount within the transition to a new economy: their views are central, there should be adequate retraining where required, there should be no loss incurred. An increasing number of trade unions are adopting this model internationally. There will be ways we can make this transition protect, and benefit, workers and communities worldwide.

Climate change poses a question about our economic and social system. It is in fact an opportunity. The theft of resources, the inequality, the destruction of nature, the abandonment of communities unwanted by big business, the injustice, the poverty, the lack of a real say in our lives – all these can be addressed when we address climate change. As prices rise and people question the reasons for the instability, we will have welcome space to talk about capitalism, social justice and real democracy. It will be an opportunity for groups who were previously unaligned to work together. It will be an opportunity for us to realise the importance and excitement of collective action. It could and should offer the opportunity for the trade union movement to re invigorate itself.

We know we should have made greater efforts to communicate with workers and unions at an earlier stage, and we apologise for that. We hope this opportunity is now here and we warmly welcome a dialogue with all sectors over how we can move forward both fairly and sustainably.

We know there is a proposal for a counter demonstration against the camp. We are concerned that this proposal could give the impression that we are on different sides and be seized upon by government and media to avoid talking about the real political issues we could be addressing. Such a division, real or not, could damage us both, whereas mutual respect and aid could help. We need to engage in a constructive dialogue about the way forward.

To that effect we warmly offer to come to your branch or group to discuss these issues, and invite you to the Camp to do the same.

In solidarity,

Networking group – Camp for Climate Action 2008

Contact us via

climate camp - networking group

* Download this article in pdf format

georgestapleton's picture
Joined: 4-08-05
Jul 15 2008 12:43

Thats actually quite an impressive letter.

Tacks's picture
Joined: 8-11-05
Jul 15 2008 23:13
georgestapleton wrote:
Thats actually quite an impressive letter.

which one mate?

Weeler. This isn't libcommunity and i know far more about this than you do. You are out of line.

I'm not talking about the indy article, i'm obviously part of separate discussions.

georgestapleton's picture
Joined: 4-08-05
Jul 16 2008 12:20
Tacks wrote:
georgestapleton wrote:
Thats actually quite an impressive letter.

which one mate?

Weeler. This isn't libcommunity and i know far more about this than you do. You are out of line.

I'm not talking about the indy article, i'm obviously part of separate discussions.

Both are interesting but I was referring to the reply. Its better than I would have expected.

Joined: 4-12-03
Aug 17 2008 16:32

Writing as very unsure about all this Except I think climate change is happening and it's polution driven to some extent.. OK, Mombiot isn't climate camp. There were various "class struggle" greens there. But
either renewable energy can fill the shortfall/there isn't one. Do people truly believe this? Or some alternative is needed. Mombiot (much applauded at CC) seems to be "anything but coal" ie nuclear energy is fine. But how is anybody saying that nuclear is less problemmatic than coal. Clean coal technology (carbon capture etc) keeps getting dissed. But how is it less feasible/more dangerous than disposing of nuclear waste?
Bearing in mind that peak oil may be an illusion as the artic fields become available. Good for energy sources perhaps, but crap for avoiding "climate change".
Not being very coherent perhaps, but would like honest feedback on this