UK coal mine approval sparks global fury and hypocrisy claims

(Climate Home News, 8 Dec 2022) The UK government’s approval of its first new coal mine in 30 years has sparked international outrage.

After more than three years of debate, communities minister Michael Gove approved the Whitehaven coal mine on Wednesday, based on the top planning official’s recommendation.

Climate watchers from around the world accused the UK of hypocrisy. As host of last year’s Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow, the UK successfully pushed other countries to agree to phase down coal power.

Coal from the planned mine is destined for export to steel works, not power plants. The UK has slashed its use of of coal for electricity by 95% in the last ten years, by lowering demand and scaling up renewable generation.

That distinction was no excuse to the government’s official climate advisory body, which unequivocally condemned the move. “This decision grows global emissions and undermines UK efforts to achieve net zero,” said Lord Deben, chair of the Climate Change Committee. “It runs counter to the UK’s stated aims as Cop26 president and sends entirely the wrong signal to other countries about the UK’s climate priorities.”

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Climate Home News, 8 Dec 2022: UK coal mine approval sparks global fury and hypocrisy claims