Experts pile pressure on Boris Johnson over ‘shocking’ new coalmine

Pressure is rising on the federal government over its help for a new coalmine in Cumbria, because the UK prepares to host the most important UN climate summit because the Paris settlement was signed in 2015.

Developing nation consultants, scientists, inexperienced campaigners and authorities advisers are more and more involved in regards to the seeming contradiction of ministers backing the new mine – the UK’s first new deep coalmine in three a long time, which can produce coking coal, principally for export, till 2049 – whereas gathering help from world leaders for a recent deal on the local weather disaster.


The UK is to host the Cop26 UN climate summit in Glasgow in November, at which nations can be requested to enroll to long-term targets of web zero emissions by 2030, and to submit short-term nationwide plans setting out reductions to their emissions between now and 2030.

Developing nation consultants informed the Guardian they have been nervous in regards to the sign the UK authorities was sending to poor nations, lots of that are contemplating whether or not to put money into inexperienced power or coal for the long run.

Mohamed Adow, director of the Power Shift Africa thinktank and up to date winner of the distinguished £3m Climate Breakthrough Award, stated: “It’s a bizarre and shocking decision. People in the developing world who are suffering from the effects of the climate crisis will be horrified. They are relying on the UK to be their champion on climate change and be an example, not returning to the dirty days of coal.”

Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh and an adviser to growing nations at Cop conferences, stated: “The UK’s rhetoric loses credibility when a coalmine is approved and also when their development assistance budget is drastically cut as well.”

Giza Gaspar-Martins, former chair of the Least Developed Countries grouping on the UN local weather talks, stated: “One would have to remain constrained on formulating an opinion on another sovereign’s policy choice, but it is in the very least disturbing.”

The famend local weather scientist James Hansen has written to Boris Johnson elevating considerations in regards to the new mine, saying it confirmed “contemptuous disregard” for younger folks, and urging Johnson to earn “historic accolades” as a substitute by setting a value on carbon.

Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser, backed Hansen’s intervention. “They should not [go ahead with the mine],” he stated. “It is a big mistake. I think Jim Hansen has expressed it very well.”

Myles Allen, professor of geosystem science at Oxford University and one of many UK’s most outstanding local weather scientists, additionally referred to as for a change of path on the mine. “This would be an ideal opportunity for the government to define what a net- zero-compliant coalmine should look like,” he informed the Guardian.

“They could require [the mine owners] to dispose securely of a rising fraction – to reach 100% at or before 2050 of the carbon dioxide generated by the coal they extract. They have one of the UK’s best CO2 storage sites right offshore in Morecambe Bay, so making the mine net-zero-compliant would create even more jobs in Cumbria.”

Green campaigners have stepped up their requires a rethink by the federal government. John Sauven, govt director of Greenpeace UK, stated: “Greenlighting the UK’s first new deep coalmine in 30 years is the last thing you’d expect from the host government of the next major climate summit. It’s like giving a tax break to big tobacco before hosting a global public health conference. ‘Do as we say, not as we do’ can’t be the government slogan for the Glasgow summit. Britain really does need to lead by example, or it won’t lead at all. Ministers are still in time to call in the decision and block the mine before it buries the government’s climate credentials under a tonne of coal.”

Tony Bosworth, coal campaigner at Friends of the Earth, added: “The mounting criticism over the government’s coalmine decision is completely justified. This new mine completely undermines Boris Johnson’s credibility ahead of this year’s crucial climate summit. The prime minister must think again – and consign UK coal to the history books where it belongs.”

The UK is the co-founder with Canada of a worldwide grouping of nationwide and subnational governments aimed toward phasing out coal use. Launched at a earlier Cop in 2017, the Powering Past Coal Alliance goals to section out the usage of coal for energy.

The Cumbrian mine will produce coking coal for steelmaking and different industrial processes, fairly than the thermal coal utilized in energy stations, which is the principle goal of the alliance, however consultants stated ministers’ help for the mine despatched the mistaken sign.

Tom Burke, co-founder of the environmental thinktank E3G and a former authorities adviser, stated: “[The decision on the Cumbrian mine] is damaging to the UK running the Cop, but also much more damaging to the Powering Past Coal Alliance. It really does undermine the UK’s credibility, having formed and led this alliance.”

Adow stated: “The UK likes to take credit for this alliance, and it goes round the world encouraging other nations to join up – and yet on the eve of hosting the biggest climate summit since Paris, it decides to open its first deep coalmine in 30 years.”

A authorities spokesperson stated: “Planning selections are made at an area stage wherever potential. This utility was not referred to as in by the communities secretary and it’s a matter for Cumbria county council to determine. As the enterprise secretary set out beforehand, this planning utility pertains to coking coal, fairly than coal for electrical energy era, which is required for industrial processes like metal and would in any other case should be imported into the UK.

“The steel industry is integral in building the infrastructure we need to tackle climate change like offshore wind farms.”

Hansen stated coking coal wanted to be phased out simply as urgently as coal for energy stations. He stated alternate options to the usage of coal in steelmaking have been possible and must be urgently pursued.

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