This post is by Valentin Vogl, an academic working on sustainability transitions in the global steel industry.
This was supposed to be the UK’s climate leadership year. In November, global leaders will gather in Glasgow to try to tame and temper humanity’s climate disruption. Meanwhile, a mere 137 miles south in Cumbria, the UK is set to do the polar opposite and open up a new coal mine.
The UK may see itself as a climate leader, with cross-party support for a net zero goal. But, last week, local politicians granted planning permission for a proposed coal mine on the West Coast of Cumbria. Burning the coal from the mine, to make steel, will release nine million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. That’s more than double Cumbria’s total current emissions. (There’s more on the background to the mine in this briefing.)
This post is by Professor Rebecca Willis and Professor Mike Berners-Lee of Lancaster University, co-authors of The case against new coal mines in the UK.
Cumbria’s West Coast, the very north western tip of England, is a place of beauty. From the rolling cliffs of St Bees, on a clear day you can see over the Irish Sea to the Isle of Man. Turning inland, the Lake District fells dominate the view. William Wordsworth was born just a few miles away. Read more
In her speech in Ottawa yesterday, Theresa May reiterated the UK’s commitment to phasing out unabated coal (ie where emissions are not captured) by 2025. This was the prime minister’s first public statement on climate policy since taking office after the Brexit referendum last year. Although the Conservative manifesto mentioned it, the prime minister has been worryingly tight lipped, leading to concerns about her commitment to climate leadership. Brexit has slowed down domestic policy making, but this statement asserts the UK’s aspiration to be a global climate leader, even as it prepares to leave the EU. Read more
This article was first published on BusinessGreen.
The UK’s electricity system is increasingly connected to our European neighbours. In the past half decade, we’ve built two new electricity interconnectors, linking us to the Netherlands and Ireland. Earlier this year, the Treasury’s own National Infrastructure Commission endorsed a plan to roughly triple our capacity to import power, mainly from our EU neighbours. In 2014, we imported 21 TWh to the UK, nearly as much power as Hinkley C will provide per year, should it ever be built. In five years’ time, we could be importing a quarter of our power from our European friends: more than the UK’s whole coal fleet provided in 2015. This is a faster change than even the famed ‘dash for gas’ in the 1990s. Read more
This post is by Bryony Worthington, founder and director of the Sandbag Climate Campaign.
Announcements in the US on Monday received a huge amount of coverage. In his search for a climate legacy, President Obama has sidestepped the political impasse on Capitol Hill and used his presidential authority to bring in new regulations designed to limit emissions from the power sector. Read more
This post by Robin Webster was first published on The Carbon Brief
The UK’s dependence on energy imports has increased to its highest level since 1976, according to statistics released by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Here’s the story of the UK’s dependence on imported fuels in eight graphs.
DECC released the data at the end of March, about a month after the chief executive of energy regulator Ofgem warned that the country’s dependence on imported fuels could drive up consumer energy bills. Read more