Category Archives: United Kingdom

July 6th, 1988- Piper Alpha explodes. 167 men killed.

1988 The Piper Alpha drilling platform in the North Sea is destroyed by explosions and fires. One hundred sixty-seven oil workers are killed, making it the world’s worst offshore oil disaster in terms of direct loss of life.

Dangerous business, oil drilling.  And coal mining.  And we sit in our warm homes, with electric power, rarely if ever thinking of the costs involved, paid by other humans, other species, other generations…

June 13th, 2009 – Drax coal train action

On this day in 2009

Climate change campaigners have hijacked a train carrying coal to Britain’s biggest power station, swarming on to the roof of its 20 huge trucks.

The 40 protesters stopped the regular delivery service to Drax in Yorkshire disguised as railway workers in yellow warning jackets and waving red flags, having read up on standard railway safety rules.

The ambush took place at an iron girder bridge over the river Aire between the villages of Gowdall and West Bank at 8am BST. One group then used the bridge girders and climbing equipment to scale the 12ft high trucks.

They hoisted a huge banner reading “Leave it in the ground” – referring to the coal destined for the power station’s furnaces. The protesters carried food, water and even a portable lavatory with the intention of being able to remain on board for several days.

Two things worthy of note

a) The activists were convicted, and then their convictions quashed and expenses paid, because one of them was the notorious under-cover cop, Mark Kennedy.

b) There was a ‘re-do’ by Greenpeace in 2014 that got very little media coverage.

As ever, see the disclaimers, help the project and comments policy.


June 9th, 2005 – 24 MNCs claim they support climate measures.

“on June 9, 2005, 24 large multinationals, including U.S. firms Hewlett-Packard and Ford, issued a statement in which they supported climate change measures, and pressured the G8 to adopt climate stabilization targets and set up a long-term, global climate change regime that would extend to 2030 at least, including a market-based system of emissions trading (World Economic Forum, 2005).”

Kolk, A. and Pinkse, J. (2007) Multinationals’ Political Activities on Climate Change Business & Society Volume 46 Number 2  201-228, p. 202

That would be this.



So, the Brits try to mobilise the scientists (see June 7th post). And business. And there was the ‘make poverty history’ thing.

And what is the result, ten years later?

We’re toast.

As ever, see the disclaimers, help the project and comments policy.

May 25th, 1990 – Margaret Thatcher opens the Hadley Centre

may251990“Many of us have been worried for some time now about the accumulating evidence of damage to the global environment and the consequences for life on Earth and for future generations. I spoke about this to the Royal Society in 1988 and to the United Nations General Assembly in November last year. Today, with the publication of the Report of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, we have an authoritative early warning system, an agreed assessment from some three hundred of the world’s leading scientists on what is happening to the world’s climate—all this under your distinguished chairmanship, Dr. Houghton. I congratulate you on getting three hundred distinguished scientists to agree on a single report—you must be quite a chairman! It is a triumph for you today, both the Report and the opening of the new Centre for which you have obviously been very eager.

Your Report confirms that greenhouse gases are increasing substantially as a result of Man’s activities; that this will warm the Earth’s surface, with serious consequences for us all, and that these consequences are capable of prediction. We want to predict them more accurately and that is why we are opening this Centre today…. ”

According to the archivist the speech has an importance ranking of “minor.”

“The task of analysing global warming was vested in a group of 170 scientists. The group, chaired by the Met Office’s Dr Houghton, came under the umbrella of the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC). It published a 22-page ‘policymakers summary’ on May 25, the day on which Thatcher confirmed her belief in global warming and announced a British target for controlling emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.”
Thomas, D. (1990) The cracks in the greenhouse theory: Financial Times 3rd November

As ever, see the disclaimers, help the project and comments policy.

May 15th, 2010- Overnight #climate vigil in London

What can those with freedom of speech, assembly and information do to confront the every increasing emissions from their own (and others’ societies)?  How do you effect rapid change in (massive and massified) systems of political, economic, ideological and cultural inertia?  Answers on a postcard to the usual address, please… Meanwhile, 5 years ago today, an SOS went out.may152010  Presumably stands for “save our species (from itself)”…

May 11th, 1990 Bergen conference – US and UK nix target agreements…

According to an official website  “The May 1990 Bergen Conference on Sustainable Development was attended by the Environment Ministers of 34 countries plus the EC Commissioner for the Environment. Hosted by Norway and co-sponsored by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), the Conference was one of a series of regional meetings1 held in advance of the June 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).”

Here’s what the FT had to say, on 11th May…

“As with many of these green conferences, almost anything – or nothing – could emerge from Bergen. The Norwegian Government is pressing participating countries to agree an ambitious communique which would, for example, commit them to stabilise emissions of carbon dioxide (CO), the main greenhouse gas, by the end of the century.
This would entail short-term cuts in CO emissions particularly from coal-burning power stations. But several of the larger industrialised countries, including the US and UK, have let it be known that they have no intention of agreeing global warming commitments at Bergen.”

Thomas, D and Hunt, J. (1990) Wave on wave of good intentions: The issues facing the world’s environmental diplomats Financial Times 11th May