195 countries signed the Paris agreement to stay below 2 degrees of warming by 2100. And yet, Cumbria Country Council is attempting to break from the 21st centuries greatest political mobilization by the allowance of a new coal mine.
In February 2020, I campaigned successfully with Extinction Rebellion to stop the extension of the Bradley Open Cast Coal Mine. To me, this demonstrated how through effective protest, state and central government can be effectively held to account to support the Paris target, however, energy and constant mobilization is needed to ensure effective accountability. The West Cumbria Mining Mine offers another opportunity for the world’s citizens to protect our planet.
The latest IPCC report writes that ‘if we take action on emissions soon, instituting immediately all of the commitments made in the Paris accords but nowhere yet actually implemented, we are likely to get about 3.2 degrees of warming’ by the end of the century. This would push the globe beyond the 2 degrees tipping point and lead to 275 million people being flooded.
Coal releases the most carbon dioxide per unit of energy. To effectively stay below 1.5 degrees of global warming we need at least 80% of known coal reserves must remain in the ground. The Government has thus made plans to phase out coal from the British electricity grid in 2024, unfortunately, despite warning from the Government’s very own Climate Change Committee, Housing Minister Robert Jenrick has failed to block the Cumbria mine.
The Climate Change Committee has stressed that coal should not be used for steel making after 2035 unless a very high proportion of carbon emissions are captured and stored. The new coal mine ‘is projected to increase UK emissions by 0.4 million tons of CO2E per year… greater than the level of annual emissions we have projected from all open UK coal mines to 2050’, moreover, 85% of the coal is projected to be exported to Europe undermining all national arguments for a coal mine and emphasising the greed of West Cumbria Mining.
In light of the Paris treaty, acceleration towards 3.2 degrees of warming and no effective argument for the creation of the Coal Mine, the actions of West Cumbria Mining are tantamount to theft. The council’s original decision to allow the looting of our planet suggests they have failed to understand the climate crises. If they do not reverse this decision, they will join the generation of Abraham who decided to sacrifice their children’s futures for the sake of profit.
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