British Government Sued for Approving Europe’s Largest Gas-Fired Power Plant
Client Earth has the green light from a British court to sue the UK government for undermining its own planning authority's concerns about the climate crisis when it approved Europe's largest gas-fired power station, according to The Independent.
Planning inspectors had recommended that the government not approve the power plant in North Yorkshire, owned by Drax, because of its enormous carbon footprint. The plant, once fully operational, could produce 75 percent of the UK's emissions from the power sector, according to lawyers at the environmental law charity Client Earth, as The Guardian reported. Energy, in total, accounts for 20 percent of the UK's carbon footprint.
Despite the planning inspectors' warning, Andrea Leadsom, the secretary of state for business, energy, and industrial strategy, approved the project in October. Client Earth quickly stepped in with legal action. Now Britain's high court ruled that the charity has the legal authority to sue ministers. The case is expected to be heard in a couple of months, according to The Guardian.
When planning inspectors first recommended against the project, they said the massive power plant is at odds with the direction that development needs to go. They said the 3.6GW power plant "would undermine the government's commitment, as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008, to cut greenhouse emissions" by having "significant adverse effects." According to The Guardian, the Drax plant was the first big project rejected because of the climate crisis.
Considering the stark warning from the planning authority, Client Earth was angered at Andrea Leadsom's decision, which threatens the UK's commitment to net-zero emissions and to combating the climate crisis.
"With scientists ringing the alarm bells for decades, we shouldn't need to take the government to court over its decision," said Sam Hunter Jones, a lawyer with Client Earth, as The Independent reported.
"The secretary of state has ignored the recommendations of her own planning authority, and her decision is at odds with the government's own climate change plans to decarbonize in a cost-effective manner."
He added: "As the planning inspectorate found, if this plant goes ahead the public risks a carbon budget blowout, or a huge stranded asset that would require propping up by the taxpayer, or a combination of the two."
Drax, which announced the plan to build the massive plant in 2017, has consistently defended the plant as part of a plan to remove carbon from the atmosphere by 2030, which is a contradiction to what the planning inspectors concluded. A Drax spokeswoman told The Guardian that the company's carbon negative ambition could be achieved alongside "new, high efficiency gas power capacity as part of our portfolio" and provide electricity when the wind was not blowing or the sun shining.
Leadsom argued that the climate crisis was not a good reason to stop the plant from going forward. "While the significant adverse impact of the proposed development on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted to atmosphere is acknowledged, the policy set out in the relevant National Policy Statements makes clear that this is not a matter that should displace the presumption in favor of granting consent," she said, as The Guardian reported.
Client Earth has pointed out that the UK does not need the power from the Drax station. It pointed to the UK government's most recent prediction that the country will need 6GW more of electricity by 2035. However, it has already approved more than 15GW of large-scale gas plants, so the Drax project would mean the UK has three times what the government estimates it will need, as The Guardian reported.
People across New England witnessed a dramatic celestial event Sunday night.
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By David Reichmuth
Over the last month, I've seen a number of opinion articles attacking electric vehicles (EVs). Sadly, this comes as no surprise: now that the Biden administration is introducing federal policies to accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles, we were bound to see a reaction from those that oppose reducing climate changing emissions and petroleum use.
The majority of EVs sold in 2020 were models with a starting price (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price) under $40,000 and only a fifth of models had a starting price over $60,000.
On Friday, China set out an economic blueprint for the next five years, which was expected to substantiate the goal set out last fall by President Xi Jinping for the country to reach net-zero emissions before 2060 and hit peak emissions by 2030.
The Great Trail in Canada is recognized as the world's longest recreational trail for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Created by the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) and various partners, The Great Trail consists of a series of smaller, interconnected routes that stretch from St. John's to Vancouver and even into the Yukon and Northwest Territories. It took nearly 25 years to connect the 27,000 kilometers of greenway in ways that were safe and accessible to hikers. Now, thanks to a new partnership with the Canadian Paralympic Committee and AccessNow, the TCT is increasing accessibility throughout The Great Trail for people with disabilities.
Trans Canada Trail and AccessNow partnership for AccessOutdoors / Trails for All project. Mapping day at Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver, British Columbia with Richard Peter. Alexa Fernando<p>This partnership also comes at a time when access to outdoor recreation is more important to Canadian citizens than ever. <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200527/dq200527b-eng.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies from the spring of 2020</a> indicate that Canadian's <a href="https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/moneytalk-mental-health-during-covid-19-1.1567633" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mental health has worsened</a> since the onset of social distancing protocols due to COVID-19. </p><p>The <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/safe-activities-during-covid19/art-20489385" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mayo Clinic</a> lists hiking, biking, and skiing as safe activities during COVID-19. Their website explains, "When you're outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So you're less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected."</p><p>TCT leadership took this into consideration when embarking on the accessibility project. McMahon explains that there has never been a more important time to bring accessibility to the great outdoors: "Canadians have told us that during these difficult times, they value access to natural spaces to stay active, take care of their mental health, and socially connect with others while respecting physical distancing and public health directives. This partnership is incredibly important especially now as trails have become a lifeline for Canadians."</p><p>Together, these organizations are paving the way for better physical and mental health among all Canadians. To learn more about the TCT's mission and initiatives, check out their <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/stories/" target="_blank">trail stories</a> and <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/TCT_2020-Donor-Impact-Report_EN_8.5x14-web.pdf" target="_blank">2020 Impact Report</a>.</p>