The coal mine will produce 2.8 million tonnes of coke per year
(sustainabilityenvironment.com) – Faced with the mass strikes of coal miners in 1984-85, Margaret Thatcher replied that “there is no alternative” to closing. The phrase became famous, almost a label for the then British Prime Minister, and certainly defined an era in which neoliberal policies began to take root in Europe and governments were increasingly experiencing the demands of the social partners. On 7 December, the new British government of Rishi Sunak again said the same sentence. This time, however, it concerns the opening of a coal mine. The first in 30 years on British territory.
The back to Coal snaps in a country that just a year ago hosted the COP26 shouting ‘stop to coal’. And that still a few weeks ago, With Alok Sharma, he scolded the Egyptian presidency of COP27 for not doing enough to cut the fossils. Why go back? The opening of the Whitehaven coal mine in Cumbria, a small town overlooking the Isle of Man, It has been under discussion for many months. But it will not benefit His Majesty’s industries.
Who needs the coal mine in Cumbria?
The coal that will be mined in Whitehaven is carbon coke and supplies the steelworks. The British ones, however, already have enough coal and do not need it. Above all, not a high-sulphur quality raw material. Similar for other production plants in Europe. Thus, it is not yet clear where the approximately 2.8 million tons of product that will be extracted each year will end up.
The only certainties, for now, are investments and climate impact. The coal mine in Cumbria will drain £165 million and create 500 jobs. Once in operation, the site will generate 400 thousand tons of CO2 each year. Which is equivalent to putting 200 thousand more gasoline vehicles on the road. And the closing date, which the government has set at 2049. The same date the Polish government chose to say goodbye to its coal industry, which plays a much more important role in the national economy.
And it is precisely based on this date that Downing Street – despite the promise to conduct a greener policy – continues to repeat that the coal mine is not in contradiction with national climate policy, which plans to get to net-zero by 2050. But it also requires a 78% greenhouse gas cut by 2035 compared to 1990 levels.