Britain’s first new coal mine in 30 years draws criticism from environmentalists | Daily News Byte

Britain’s first new coal mine in 30 years draws criticism from environmentalists

 | Daily News Byte

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The UK has repeatedly said it will phase out coal to generate electricity starting in 2024, a year earlier than originally planned, with a view to significantly reducing the country’s reliance on coal over the next decade. However, news that the UK will open its first new coal mine in decades calls into question the seriousness of its climate promises when it comes to coal. This month, the UK approved its first new deep coal mine in 30 years, having closed its last deep pit mine in 2015. The project will cover 23 hectares of land, estimated at $201 million in 2019 and will take two years to build. The government expects mine Run until 2049before its net-zero deadline takes effect.

Approval of the development was met with severe criticism, with many suggesting the new plant proved the UK was not doing enough to meet its climate targets. Woodhouse Colliery, to be developed by West Cumbria Mining in the north-west of England, will produce coal for use in the steel industry. It is expected to boost job opportunities in the industry with around 500 new positions. The proposal was originally approved by Cumbria County Council in October 2020 but is currently awaiting government approval. In addition to direct jobs, it is expected to promote 1,500 much-needed indirect jobs.

Most of the coal produced at the facility will be shipped to Europe – about 80 percent is expected to be exported after the first five years of operation. Despite plans to use it outside the UK, John Gummer, chair of Britain’s Independent Climate Change Committee (UKCCC), Believe Approval of the new plant is “totally unsafe”. Greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal are the single largest contributor to climate change. In the last year, and especially since the COP26 climate summit, we have seen an increase in global pressure to curb the use of coal in favor of cleaner energy sources. And the EU has cast a large net as a means of ensuring a move away from coal to ‘less dirty’ energy, including non-renewable energy sources, such as natural gas and nuclear power. However, the UK appears to be open to coal supplies while international demand remains high.

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Steel production requires heating coal to high temperatures to fuse it with iron 770 kg of coal goes into a ton of steel. Currently, the UK produces 7.4 million tonnes of steel per year. However, almost half of the coal used in UK steel comes from Russia. And following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions on Russian energy, the UK is looking to curb its reliance on Russia for energy and other imports. However experts point out that by the time Woodhouse is up and running, the UK will have curbed its reliance on coal. little production for his own needs.

The UKCCC advised the government in 2021 that the steelmaking industry should step by step If the UK hopes to meet its 2050 net-zero emissions targets, its coal use by 2035. And as Woodhouse’s approval threatens to undermine the British political system once again, after going back and forth over several economic decisions in recent months, it now appears to be doing the same with its climate policy. As a world leader in climate change action and hosting the COP climate summit last year, this action could encourage other countries to continue using coal.

All too aware of the imminent shift away from carbon, steelmakers are exploring alternative sources of energy for their production. One possible means is through the use of an electric arc furnace (EAF), which uses electricity to melt scrap steel, reducing coal input and releasing fewer emissions. Alternatively, iron can be replaced by hydrogen to reduce emissions by about 61 percent. around 41 percent European steel already uses EAF, and the use of hydrogen is growing in popularity More investments are being made in green hydrogen Technology However, the IEA has made it clear that the steel industry needs to create a roadmap to curb its carbon emissions, with many low-carbon options still available for production. undeveloped.

In Europe, UORFER – European Steel Association, a Steel Roadmap For Low Carbon Europe 2050. Similarly, in the UK, British Steel announced its 2021 Low-Carbon Roadmap. However, despite the positive steps towards low-carbon steel, there needs to be a wider international movement towards cleaner steel production with a greater focus on alternative production means and the development of new supply chains for hydrogen and technologies. Low-carbon steel output. Without this, governments may continue to rely on traditional coal plants such as Woodhouse.

By Felicity Bradstock for Oilprice.com

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