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Coal Use Reduction

Volume 707: debated on Wednesday 19 January 2022

In the Glasgow climate pact, all parties agreed to phase down the use of coal, the first ever specific mention of coal in the UN climate decision text. The global coal to clean power transition statement gained 77 signatures from countries, sub-nationals and organisations, and the Powering Past Coal Alliance grew to 165 members

I congratulate the COP President on his achievements at COP26. I welcome our move away from the use of coal, and that should include any new exploration for both thermal and metallurgical coal. With that in mind, does he agree that the UK can be a beacon to the rest of the world and we can show a progressive environmental example by not going ahead with the proposed coalmine in west Cumbria?

As my hon. Friend is aware, an independent inspector has overseen a public inquiry into the scheme and a report is now being prepared with recommendations for Ministers to consider. He will understand that it is not appropriate for me to comment at this stage. However, more generally, the UK has shown leadership on coal, not least through the significant reduction over the past decade in coal use to generate our electricity.

It would be entirely appropriate for the COP President to comment on that and to intervene—it is a political decision whether to go ahead with a new coalmine in Cumbria. Should he not cancel it now and instead invest in wind, hydro, marine and tidal energy that can be championed by Cumbrian businesses such as Gilkes, investing in green jobs rather than dirty, old-fashioned ones?

I thought that the hon. Gentleman liked independent processes and that is what is running now.