22 Jan Climate ambitions set back by new coal mine plans
A new coal mine in Cumbria was given the green light last year by the government, with the Woodhouse colliery project set to cost £165m.
It will become the first new British deep coal mine in 30 years but has now been seen as unnecessary and incompatible with UK climate ambitions, just less than 3 months’ after approval.
Protests from climate campaigners began after the backing was given in March 2019, it is expected that the new coalmine project will harm the UK’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and damage their targets.
Although, the Cumbria council claim that the mine would be aiming to process over 2.5 million tonnes of coking coal a year for 50 years, eliminating the need to import coal from other counties.
Advocates supporting the project, believe it is needed to fuel the UK’s steel industry and bring jobs to a region with high unemployment, with an expected 500 people being employed, increasing to an estimated 2,000 more jobs created in its supply chain.
Since the UK set a target to reach net-zero supported by 2050, it has committed to switching to lower carbon steel production, announcing a clean steel fund in August 2019. **
However, the report has stated that the proposed mine, which is expected to begin production in two years time, subject to environmental certificates, will delay net-zero, increasing the crisis of climate change and pushing back UK targets.
Further in the report, it proposed different ways of reducing emissions, such as using less steel, using recycled steel, improving the efficiency of steel production and producing steel with new processes, by harnessing renewable energy.
The Cumbrian MP, Tim Farron, called the decision “a kick in the teeth in the fight to tackle climate change”.
The UK are well on their way to phasing coal out of our energy system by 2025 and last year, Great Britain went nearly 4,000 hours without using coal to generate electricity. It will be a key milestone on our journey to end our net-zero journey, once we are coal free.
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