The British Government once sat happy in the illusion that it was a progressive government on climate change.

But today, that impression has been shattered by inaction over climate change, its support for increased air travel and now its support for a controversial new generation of coal-fired power stations.

John Hutton, the UK Secretary of State for Business, will today argue that “clean coal” has a crucial role to play in filling Britain’s energy gap for the future.

Hutton’s remarks will be seen as a clear sign that the Government will approve plans to build Britain’s first coal-fired power station since 1984 at Kingsnorth, Kent. A further seven coal-fired plants are also in the pipeline.

The energy company E.ON UK, claims it will cut carbon emissions by nearly two million tonnes a year, with the carbon emitted stored under the North Sea. Critics are worried the new technology remains unproved and a new coal programme would undermine efforts to secure a new worldwide agreement to combat global warming.

And what about renewable decentralized energy anyway?