Critics and environmental activists lashed at the UK government for endorsing the coal mining operation in Northwest England.
West Cumbria Mining will be in charge of the activities. The decision, according to the company’s statement, improved their attitude. They claimed that if the government approves, it will provide over 500 employment for residents. Furthermore, the coal mine would provide high-quality coal for the country’s steel sector. However, coal mining has long benefited the United Kingdom. However, many groups became perplexed by the decision because the government vowed to meet its climate targets.
“The Secretary of State recognizes the views of many objectors to the scheme that the use of offsetting is contrary to the attainment of a net zero model. However, it is acknowledged as a valid approach by the CCC to achieving net zero in the sixth carbon budget,” explained the government.
“I’ve been inundated with messages from across my community tonight. And we’ve got a community in the celebration about one of the biggest positive economic impacts on our area in a generation. This is fantastic news for West Cumbria and our community,” said Mike Starkie, a mayor of Cumbria.
“Phasing out coal use is the clearest requirement of the global effort towards Net Zero,” said Lord Deben, the chairman of the Climate Chance Committee.
“We condemn, therefore, the Secretary of State’s decision to consent a new deep coal mine in Cumbria, contrary to our previous advice,” he added.
UK government ignores CCC’s advice
Deben presented numerous points of advice to the UK government in a previous letter made to the UK government to halt the coal mine operation in Cumbria. He said that the Cumbria facility would be detrimental to the country. For starters, it will raise emissions. Second, the factory will export over 80% of its coal to foreign countries.
“The opening of a new deep coking coal mine in Cumbria will increase global emissions. And it will have an appreciable impact on the UK’s legally binding carbon budgets. The mine will increase UK emissions by 0.4Mt CO2e per year. This is greater than the level of annual emissions we have projected from all open UK coal mines to 2050,” explained Deben in the letter.
“It is for Ministers to decide how the effort to reach Net Zero should be allocated across the economy. But it is also important to note that this decision gives a negative impression of the UK’s climate priorities in the year of COP26,” it added.
More condemnation from organizations
The CCC and other groups have criticized the UK government. For example, Friends of the Earth campaigner Tony Bosworth stated that he disagrees with the government’s choice. Meanwhile, Greenpeace UK Policy Director Doug Parr expressed the same viewpoint.
“[The mine would] do nothing for the UK’s energy security since the coal it contains can only be used for steelmaking, not generating power, and more than 80% of it is earmarked for sale in Europe anyway,” Parr said.
“There’s a technological revolution building in steelmaking. But this approach could make the UK a backwater in the 21st-century clean tech race,” he added.
“Approving this mine is a misguided and deeply damaging mistake that flies in the face of all the evidence. The mine will add to global climate emissions and won’t replace Russian coal,” Bosworth said.
Photo Credit: Christopher Furlong
Opinions expressed by CEO Weekly contributors are their own.