Theresa May’s coal phase out plan has three dangerous loopholes

22nd March 2018 | Commercial Energy

Theresa May and her Conservative government has promised to phase out the burning of coal in the UK by 2025. This should be a cause of celebration for climate change campaigners. But the plans have three dangerous loopholes, which means activists must remain vigilant.

A meaningful response to the climate crisis does not just require an end to coal by a rapid transition towards genuinely low-carbon renewable energy that does not involve burning carbon, coupled with a shift towards much lower energy use.

Theresa May’s government finally confirmed its intention to end coal burning in power station in 2025 this January. This coal phase-out is long-overdue.

Coal Phase Out

But the decision contains three dangerous loopholes: firstly, the government does not seek to end coal mining in the UK: secondly, it would allow plants to continue burning coal if large amounts of wood are cofired despite science showing that this is far from climate friendly and thirdly, the government is determined to compensate for the end of coal burning with a significant expansion in gas power station capacity.

Amber Rudd, the then secretary of state for energy and climate change, announced “proposals to close coal by 20205 – and restrict its use from 2023” on the eve of the 2015 UN Climate Conference in Paris.

What the Government committed to at that time was nothing more than holding a consultation. Worryingly, the emphasis was firmly on replacing coal with gas.

Still it was the first time that a government anywhere had announced plans to end coal burning in power stations – though it is worth remembering that only 78 out of 195 countries in the world were burning coal for electricity in 2014, and that several countries from Zambia to Switzerland, had ended coal power before then.

More information available on the website below