The activists said they wanted to highlight the problems of rising sea levels as a result of climate change.
“We thought that DECC’s staff and Ed Miliband might appreciate some goggles and floats because if they continue with their destructive policies they will need them,” said Jane Roberts, one of the protestors. “It really is sink or survive for the future of humanity now.
“Climate change is being caused by the same economic and political system that has caused the economic meltdown. Rather than getting serious about tackling climate change, DECC is simply seeking to preserve these failed systems with false solutions, such as carbon trading.”
The protestors have a particular gripe with carbon trading, which puts a price on polluting with carbon dioxide and is one of the mechanisms proposed by international governments as a way to regulate carbon emissions.
Hassan Beg, a climate camp activist, also criticised government plans to ensure future UK coal power stations are built with technology to capture and store 20-25% of their carbon emissions. “Considering DECC’s vested interest in the coal industry, it is no coincidence that they are promoting unproven carbon capture and storage technology to justify E.ON building a new dirty coal-power station at Kingsnorth and a new generation of open-cast coal mines,” said Beg. “One can’t help wondering whether the Vestas wind turbine factory would have been given the financial assistance necessary to stay open if it had been coal.”
A DECC spokesperson said: “We all value our freedoms to speak out, gather together and demonstrate. This action has not disrupted the department’s work to fight climate change and safeguard the nation’s energy security. We are the first country in the world to set out a comprehensive plan to cut our emissions – by at least a third by 2020. Our action here will help us push for an ambitious global deal at Copenhagen to tackle global warming.”