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Mining Disaster

Cumbria County Council are reconsidering plans for a new coal mine near Whitehaven. Good.

A new UK coal mine in the face of deep, world-wide concern over climate change and Britain hosting COP26, the huge international climate change in November, would be a colossal embarrassment and inflict considerable damage on this country’s reputation in the race for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Cumbria has bowed to the huge condemnation of the plan (although it is yet to cancel it) and are weighing up ‘new information’. For that, read ‘Oops, let’s find a way out of this mess, quick!’

The Government’s decision through Communities and Local Government Minister Robert Jenrick not to ‘call in’ the plans for the mine and throw them in the bin is both a disgrace and a complete dereliction of duty for an administration that tarts itself as an international leader on climate change.

The government is putting great energy into COP26 in Glasgow and the man they have put in charge as COP President, former Business Minister Alok Sharma, is making a big noise about his and his administration’s credentials in the fight again climate change. One hears he was apoplectic about the mine possibly going ahead. Perhaps he was, but the fact remains his government were tacitly happy to wash their hands of a decision and allow the mine to happen.

No doubt the new mine would create jobs in Cumbria and boost the local economy. But, we are way beyond allowing ad hoc, short-term gain decisions on any issues concerning climate change and achieving net-zero by 2050.

The planet simply hasn’t got the time.

Cumbria needs to throw this plan out and the Government to get serious on all elements of thinking and policy on climate change.

- Eminent climate change scientist James Hansen’s letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson telling him that the mine would show ‘a contemptuous disregard for the future of young people’

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