Environmentalist horror: UK approves first new coal mine in three decades

by WorldTribune Staff, December 8, 2022

UK Housing and Communities Secretary Michael Gove on Wednesday approved a plan to open the first new coal mine in Great Britain in 30 years.

The Whitehaven coal mine in Cumbria, a county in northwestern England, is expected to create more than 500 jobs and secure the fossil fuel needed for British steelmaking. About 85% of the coal mined is due to be exported..

The mine would be near Whitehaven in Cumbria. / West Cumbria Mining Company

The UK Climate Change Committee, an independent group that advises the government, has estimated the mine and the coal it will produce will emit around 9 million tons of emissions per year.

Environmentalists are brassed off.

“A new coal mine in Cumbria makes no sense environmentally or economically,” Paul Ekins, Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, said in a statement. “It will add to global CO2 emissions, as the new supply will not replace other coal but divert it elsewhere, and it will become stranded in the 2030s as the steel industry globally moves away from coal.”

Ekins also said that the mine’s approval “trashes the UK’s reputation as a global leader on climate action and opens it up to well justified charges of hypocrisy – telling other countries to ditch coal while not doing so itself.”

Throughout Europe, higher prices for natural gas have helped revive demand for coal.

As winter takes hold, European sanctions on Russia and the Kremlin’s decision to cut gas flows to the Continent have prompted a shift back to coal-fired power plants.

“European countries are desperately looking for alternatives to ensure that they can provide affordable energy,” said Sanya Carley, a professor at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.

Some countries have removed caps on production at coal-fired energy plants.

“And in fact, they’re running several coal plants that they had previously planned to decommission or entirely retire,” Carley said.

Finland and France are among the nations that have brought mothballed coal-burning power plants back online.

At the same time, Europe is importing more coal, driving prices higher.

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