UK Government’s coal phase-out proposal full of loopholes

Loopholes in UK ‘coal phase-out’ proposals boost coal burning until 2025 and might perpetuate it indefinitely

Opencast coal mine in Russia, one of the main countries from which the UK imports coal

Opencast coal mine in Russia, one of the main countries from which the UK imports coal

On 9th November 2016, the UK Government released its consultation about a possible phase-out of coal in 2025, called “Coal Generation in Great Britain: The pathway to a low-carbon future”.  The consultation remains open until 1st February 2017.

The consultation had first been announced by Amber Rudd, then Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, in November 2015, who promised that it “will set out proposals to close coal by 2025 – and restrict its use from 2023” (1).  We are pleased that the Government is looking into the problems caused by coal and is looking at a phase- out of electricity generation from coal.  However, permitting a decade of further coal burning for electricity could hardly be seen as commensurate with the climate crisis, nor with the disastrous impacts of coal mining on communities and their environments around the world.

Yet, as this briefing, written jointly by Biofuelwatch and Coal Action Network shows, the actual proposals contained in the consultation paper are weaker still.  On the one hand, they seek to ensure that a phase-out of coal burning cannot happen before 2025, even though economic developments favour a much earlier phase-out.  On the other hand, they introduce many loopholes which could perpetuate coal burning indefinitely.  The coal industry will no doubt respond to the consultation to push for the greatest loopholes possible.  Groups and individuals concerned with climate justice can and must counter this narrative, by responding to the consultation, and in public.

– Continue reading at the link above

Note that the Government’s proposals may lead to even greater use of biomass in coal power stations.