The environment

The Vestas workers' struggle

Vestas

Author: 

AWL

For a full list of all stories on this website about Vestas, click here. Key articles below:

What you can do - practical solidarity

The story so far - timeline 28 April to 18 August

Why wind turbine production should be publicly owned - Government minister Joan Ruddock challenged face-to-face on her "principles"

Key articles on the factory occupation that brought the issues of renewable energy and of jobs together, and both centre-stage.

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Climate change is the problem

Hurricane Harvey, which began on Friday 25 August and lasted until the middle of the following week hit Texas, Louisiana and Kentucky and especially the coastal areas of Texas. Houston, the US’s fourth biggest city, spread out over 1,700 square miles, was the worst affected. The hurricane displaced one million people, caused 44 deaths and damaged 185,000 homes.

Many mainstream media reports in the US made no mention of climate change in the reporting of Hurricane Harvey, but local journalists, academics and independent media did.

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Letters: All risks and nuclear risks

Author: 

Les Hearn and Martin Thomas

The debate in Solidarity on nuclear power is in danger of missing three points. The first is that all forms of energy production carry risks; the second is that some risks are more visible than others; the third is that some risks are exaggerated while others are ignored or minimised.

Laker and Zubrowski (Solidarity 431) warn that the left should not support nuclear power because of “its radioactive byproduct, unique [but unspecified] risk” and contribution to carbon emissions.

All forms of energy production carry risks, some more visible than others.

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Letter: Nuclear holds back renewables

Author: 

Neil Laker and Mike Zubrowski

Martin Thomas (Solidarity 230) is right to contribute further nuance to our thinking on the nuclear question. Yet he seems to miss our basic point: we are unconvinced that the left should positively advocate a “solution” which is known to cause further problems through its radioactive byproduct, carries unique risks, and still contributes to carbon emissions.

As a movement we need to respond aggressively to the government’s claim that it is reducing emissions through a planned expansion of nuclear. The only way we can coherently do so is by understanding that this initiative is not only both unnecessary and totally insufficient, but that it actually holds back the development of genuinely sustainable and ecologically balanced energy systems.

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Letters

Author: 

Martin Thomas and Patrick Yarker

Neil Laker and Mike Zubrowski (Solidarity 429) agree that nuclear power is “better than many on the left see it”, but argue for only marginal use on grounds of the finite supply of uranium ore and higher carbon-dioxide emissions from nuclear than from hydro-electric or large wind turbines. The source they cite estimates median CO2 emission rates at about 15 units for nuclear, compared to 30 for small and medium wind-power projects, 80-odd for solar, 500 for gas, and 900 for coal.

Nuclear power is not a capitalist plot; Black bloc and anti-Trump protests.

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Letter: Nuclear not the answer

Author: 

Neil Laker and Mike Zubrowski

In Solidarity 428 “Copeland, Corbyn, and the future of nuclear”, Luke Hardy reminds us that “socialists should deal with facts”. True, but socialists should deal with all the relevant facts; and in the case of nuclear power, some facts point in one direction, others in another.

Recognition that nuclear fission is better than many on the left see it as does not mean we should necessarily support new nuclear power stations.

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Shut down coal power, nationalise the Big Six

Author: 

Mike Zubrowski

A protest demanding the closure of Aberthaw coal-fired power station — and “green jobs now!” — took place on 28 January. It was organised by Reclaim The Power in collaboration with local working-class activists.

That renewable energy sources allow a greater level of decentralisation, with energy organised on the scale of communities, may be a good thing, but the approach to bringing this about must be different.

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Copeland, Corbyn and the future of nuclear

Author: 

Luke Hardy

The by-election in Copeland in Cumbria focused attention on the Labour Party’s attitude to nuclear energy. The Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant is the largest employer in the constituency and the previous Labour MP Jamie Reed is leaving politics to work in the nuclear industry.

There is no contradiction between supporting new nuclear energy generation and opposing all nuclear weapons.

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Dakota Pipeline halted, direct action continues

Author: 

Alex Nash

The Standing Rock, Cheyenne River and Yankton Sioux peoples continue their direct action against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

Despite the recent positive news, some have voiced caution, noting that Donald Trump strongly supports the Dakota Access Pipe Line and the pipeline company itself could appeal the decision. “It’s a trick. It’s a lie. Until that drill is shut down it’s not over yet,” said Frank Archambault, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “Everybody needs to stay in place.”

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Residents plan Heathrow campaign

Author: 

Simon Nelson

Four Tory Councils are set to take legal action against the expansion of Heathrow Airport. Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead will be joined by Greenpeace in seeking a judicial review of the decision to go ahead with a third runway.

Court action is likely to delay any final decision actually being implemented. For the residents of the area and those who will be most directly affected the words of David Cameron, “No ifs, No buts. No third runway” now ring very hollow.

The interest in a working-class environmentalism amongst some of the unions appears to have faded in recent years. This is something that needs to be urgently rediscovered if the fight against Heathrow is to be won once and for all.

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