UK's first coal mine in decades ratified, London renegs on commitments
A set of think tanks warns that Whitehaven colliery is incompatible with international climate action.
The UK government has approved a new coal mine in Cumbria, the country's first in more than 30 years, but actions have already been taken to dispute the decision before any work can be done.
Based on the UK's worldwide and national legally-obligated commitments to combating climate change, environmental activists are reviewing the judgment in preparation for a legal challenge.
Weakening climate push
Commenting on this issue, the chairman of the government's official climate advisors Lord Deben described the move as "absolutely indefensible".
Environmentalists are appalled by the decision and warned it would destroy the UK's reputation as a climate leader.
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, said it was a "climate-busting, backward-looking, business-wrecking, stranded asset coal mine," when the country needed "a clean, green industrial strategy fit for the future".
This is a "backward step" for both the UK's domestic climate efforts and its international credibility, according to MP Alok Sharma, who oversaw the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow last year.
Additionally, protesters are preparing to carry out local actions near the mine, and any banks and investors who support the mine will face pressure from public campaigns.
This is happening one year after the UK attended COP26 and urged other nations to "consign coal to history".
How much is too much?
According to research by the think group Green Alliance, the mine could emit as much pollution that contributes to global warming as adding 200,000 additional automobiles to UK roadways.
The protracted decision questions Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's vow to turn the UK into a "clean energy superpower" during this year's COP27 climate conference in Egypt.
It follows years of disagreement over planning, with the final choice being postponed until COP27 when the government escaped feelings of shame in front of the international community.
Because they will allegedly balance the emissions during the construction phase, the mine's developers, West Cumbria Mining, claim that it will be the first "net zero" coal mine of its sort in the world.
In order for the world to reach net zero emissions by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency, no more fossil fuel projects can be built.
Lord Deben, of the Climate Change Committee, called the proposed mine "totally unacceptable" earlier this year.
Instead of producing coal for electricity, the colliery will produce coking coal, which is needed to make steel. At least 80% is anticipated for export.
On his account, Conservative MP for Workington Mark Jenkinson affirmed that there is "no sense in importing all of our coking coal, which would be an abdication of our climate commitments". The coal is anticipated to start flowing approximately 18 months after construction begins.