London Calling regrets a lost opportunity for coal mine workers
In March, under the auspices of the British National Union of Mineworkers and Australia’s CFMEU, a hundred and twenty delegates, belonging to 20 unions from 17 countries, participated in the second international coal miners’ conference, held in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh.
The conference’s resolution on climate change appeared to completely ignore the long term impacts of relying on coal-fired power generation; the contribution that this makes to global greenhouse gas emissions from steel and cement manufacture; and the toxicity of radioactive and heavy metals spewed out by power plants and contained in fly ash.
It also failed to acknowledge that there is currently no such thing as a truly “clean development mechanism” for coal-based electricity – and may never be – nor safe disposal of its carbon products.
Seven weeks ago in Scotland there was a unique opportunity for coal workers to affirm their solidarity with the numerous current victims of mining and apply their undoubted practical and intellectual strengths to the tasks of determining a future “without coal.”
Regrettably, that opportunity was thrown away.