The Guardian (UK): Greens say big three ignore climate change: “… fuel protestors of five years ago re-emerged to picket a Shell refinery in protest at high fuel prices.”: “A Shell spokeswoman said: "We would like to reassure our customers that we will do our very best to ensure there is no interruption to supply and that our operations are running as normal.” (ShellNews.net) Posted 26 April 05
Matthew Tempest, political correspondent
25 April 05
The Greens today accused the three major parties of ignoring climate change in the election campaign, and released a mini-manifesto on cutting carbon emissions.
Labour was accused of having committed "a crime against humanity" by ignoring the "weapon of mass destruction" of climate change, while the Liberal Democrats were accused of hypocrisy for building motorways and opposing congestion charging in Scotland - where they share power with Labour.
The environment shot up the agenda over the weekend. Labour, it was reported, build new nuclear power plants in a bid to meet carbon emission targets, and the fuel protestors of five years ago re-emerged to picket a Shell refinery in protest at high fuel prices.
Nonetheless, the environment still struggles to make an impression at election time. Today the Greens - who have still to win their first Westminster seat - accused the government of ignoring their own scientific advisor's warning that climate change would be a "bigger threat than terrorism".
Caroline Lucas, Green MEP and "female principal speaker" - the party divides up leadership duties - said: "The government's own scientific adviser has said that climate change is a bigger threat than terrorism, yet it has been entirely absent from the Westminster parties' campaigns, because their policies and their records in office actively contribute to the problem.
"Well climate change is a weapon of mass destruction too. So where is his commitment to spend whatever it takes on climate change?"
She said Mr Blair's "failure to act will come to be seen as the defining betrayal of the Blair premiership," even more than the Iraq war, and that "to do nothing about [climate change] is tantamount to a crime against humanity."
Dr Lucas accused Tony Blair of presiding over a massive expansion in road building, and giving the green light to a huge aviation expansion - despite this being the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. She said the PM intervened in a departmental row between the Department for Trade and Industry and the Department for the Environment to to say that businesses should not be obliged to meet a previously agreed CO2 reduction target.
She went on to say that the Liberal Democrats were no better, and that in Scotland, where they govern in coalition with Labour, the party backed both the controversial M74 motorway extension in Glasgow and opposed congestion charging in Edinburgh.
At the weekend it was reported that Mr Blair would use the G8 summit at Gleneagles in July to mount an assault on climate change which would moot a return to building nuclear power plants in the UK.
That option was left open in the government's energy white paper of two years ago, which pushed new targets for renewables of 10% by 2010 and an aspiration of 20% by 2020. However, nuclear power is re-emerging as a contender - despite huge costs and a the long-term disposal worries - as it does not contribute to carbon emissions.
Today the Lib Dems environment spokesman, Norman Baker, called it "jumping from the frying pan into the the fire".
"Nuclear power is uneconomic, with a £48bn bill to clear up the mess we already have. The Liberal Democrats are the only party at this general election who have stated a clear and honest position in ruling out any new nuclear power stations."
Meanwhile this morning a group of famers and hauliers led by the former fuel protestor David Handley mounted a "go-slow" blockade and then a picket outside a Shell refinery in Stanlow, Cheshire.
The group Farmers for Action led the protest outside the plant which was also blockaded in fuel protests in September 2000.
A spokeswoman for Cheshire Constabulary said 14 vehicles had originally arrived at 5am. The vehicles circled the roundabout for three hours before the drivers agreed to park them on the central reservation of the roundabout.
The police spokeswoman said: "This is not the situation that we had in 2000.
"The road is not blocked and tankers from the fuel depot are accessing and leaving the site routinely. There is no threat to any petrol supplies in any garage."
A Shell spokeswoman said: "We would like to reassure our customers that we will do our very best to ensure there is no interruption to supply and that our operations are running as normal.
"We respect the public's right to demonstrate but would urge protesters to take into consideration the impact that their protest might have on the broader public."
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