UK’s Russian Coal Purchases Have Doubled in Last 2 Years

For all the ministerial talk in the last few years on cutting down on fossil fuels and bolstering “energy security“, new BEIS data released today shows just how much hot air that’s turned out to be. According to these figures, Russian imported coal has skyrocketed from 18% to 35% of the UK’s total coal use in the last two years. This is a direct consequence of the government’s refusal to replace domestic short-term surface coal mines back in 2020. The last English and Scottish coal mines were closed last year…

If Britain wants to make steel – and it is strategically important that we do – until we are producing abundant industrial hydrogen there is no viable alternative to coal. The trend in supply was obvious to anyone paying attention at the time – in fact, Guido published an article (Does Robert Jenrick work for… Vladimir Putin?) in 2020 predicting exactly how this would turn out. Even as the UK’s overall coal consumption has obviously fallen in favour of renewables, the demand hasn’t been completely wiped out. We still need around 7 million tonnes a year, 35% of which is now met by Russian imports rather than the UK’s own surface coal. So much for energy independence…

mdi-timer 31 March 2022 @ 16:13 31 Mar 2022 @ 16:13 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
BBC Climate Editor Loses it with PM Over Cumbria Coal Mine

The BBC’s climate editor Justin Rowlatt lost his cool interviewing Boris this morning, as he tried pointing out the discrepancy between the PM’s words on phasing out coal and the UK building a new coal mine. Rowlatt ended up yelling at Boris:

“…at the same time as not ruling out a new coal mine in Britain – a new coal mine in Britain! We started the industrial revolution, we should close the mines!”

He did manage to stop himself just short of overtly calling the PM a hypocrite at one point, so one headache avoided for the BBC…

Incidentally the proposed coal mine is not for energy production – which would be against the government’s Net Zero policy – it is for steel production. If the coking coal produced isn’t extracted in the UK it will have to be imported – generating far more pollution. Likewise, if steel is not manufactured in the UK it will need to be imported – generating far more pollution. The UK coal plant will also be far more environmentally sensitive than the alternative. If Britain is to level up and remain an industrial manufacturer, it is an essential resource…

UPDATEA co-conspirator rightly points out that Justin Rowlatt’s sister, Cordelia, is a twice-arrested Insulate Britain activist whose name even appears on a National Highways injunction for her repeated protests. Surprise, surprise.

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Labour Queue Up to Slam Climate Sage Thatcher

It will have been difficult to miss the concocted outrage from left-wingers overnight after it emerged Boris made a joke about Thatcher’s transitioning of Britain from coal to lower emission energy sources on a visit:

“Look at what we’ve done already. We’ve transitioned away from coal in my lifetime. Thanks to Margaret Thatcher who closed so many coal mines [the Prime Minister then laughs] across the country where we had had a big early start and we’re now moving rapidly away from coal altogether… I thought that would get you going!”

A literal day at the coalface…

Lisa Nandy was first out of the gates to criticise the light hearted remarks, despite previously calling for Britain’s coal stations to be closed because they’re so polluting.

Keir Starmer is also furious, despite having spent months opposing a new coal mine in Cumbria as bad for the environment. Sounding like quite the Thatcherite. 

While the left may refuse to acknowledge it, Thatcher was undeniably the first eco-conscious PM. As the Guardian wrote upon her passing:

“she helped put climate change (or global warming as it was then known), acid rain and pollution on to the mainstream political map.”

She famously told the UN general assembly in 1989 “It is mankind and his activities that are changing the environment of our planet in damaging and dangerous ways. The result is that change in future is likely to be more fundamental and more widespread than anything we have known hitherto.” She then took the cause to the Tory faithful:

For some reason, Labour is less willing to acknowledge Harold Wilson’s much greater role in closing British coal mines. Greta would have been proud…

mdi-timer 6 August 2021 @ 09:04 6 Aug 2021 @ 09:04 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
“Shock” at Jenrick Coal Mine Inquiry Announcement

An MP has told Guido how he and his colleagues were given no forewarning by Robert Jenrick before he announced his department was going to intervene in the Cumbria coal mine project and order a fresh public inquiry. The intervention is seen by red wall MPs as the government bowing to niche, interest group public pressure, with Workington MP Mark Jenkinson last night telling the Tory MP WhatsApp group the Secretary of State has “bowed to climate terrorists”. Whatever happened to not negotiating with terrorists…

The cancellation of the project could see a loss of £165 million of private investment into the area; and adding to the political embarrassment of the intervention, Boris’s own PPS Trudy Harrison was set to be the coal mine’s constituency MP. It now appears Harrison doesn’t intend to quit as the PM’s PPS…

Away from the immediate reaction, Mark Jenkinson now tells Guido the inquiry may provide one upside insofar as the debate will now be taken away from the fraught, partisan one seen so far. The now-scuppered timing of the massive project may pull the rug from underneath the project given its private investment funding. Jenkinson also told Guido of his “shock” hearing the announcement, as he got no prior warning about the intervention, and given the process is now quasi-judicial it’ll be very difficult for him and his colleagues to now level questions at Jenrick. Not least “does the government think it’s more environmental to import coal from China rather than mining it here?”

The government needs to decide if Britain is going to be a high-value manufacturing nation or not, the pandemic showed the dangers of having little or no manufacturing capability in strategic areas. De-carbonising the economy will kill energy intensive industries dead to the benefit of China and Asia. This is pretty disastrous for the government’s promised leveling up agenda, with Jenkinson’s inbox overwhelmingly pro-mine, as well as his Facebook. At the moment he doesn’t believe this is just the government laying the groundwork to eventually u-turn and cancel the project, though Guido smells a rat…

mdi-timer 12 March 2021 @ 11:25 12 Mar 2021 @ 11:25 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Ed Miliband’s Coal Mining Flip-Flop

This morning, Shadow BEIS Secretary Ed Miliband used his Andrew Marr appearance to rail against the new coal mine opening in Cumbria, saying it shouldn’t open as it undermines the UK’s ability to take a lead against climate change. Miliband’s tried a lot of rebranding over the last few years, however his coal outrage takes the biscuit, having lobbied on the industry’s behalf in parliament for over a decade:

  • October 2005: “Those who have traditionally thought that coal cannot be an answer to our energy needs should approach this question with an open mind. My constituents want coal to be given a chance in the forthcoming examination of energy policy”
  • July 2015, Miliband criticised the Government for not providing taxpayer subsidy to coal: “I find it frustrating when new nuclear is given a multi-billion-pound bill payer subsidy, but a few million more for a coal mine is seen as an option that either cannot be afforded or should not be entertained”
  • July 2015, Miliband criticised the Government for introducing the climate change levy after it led to the closure of a coal mine in his constituency: “The levying of the tax at point of sale rather than when the coal is burned means that the energy companies have an incentive to stockpile coal, and they did so in advance of April to avoid the higher levy. Companies had huge stockpiles of coal and orders at Hatfield dried up”
  • July 2015, Miliband claimed it was not “morally right” to push on with the early closure of coal mines: “The miners feel they have had the rug pulled from under them. I do not believe the decision makes economic or industrial sense, and nor is it morally right. I believe the Minister should think again”

Miliband now being considered one of Labour’s best media performers should be seen as the canary in the coal mine for the party’s election prospects…

mdi-timer 7 February 2021 @ 10:10 7 Feb 2021 @ 10:10 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
UK Coal Usage Falls to 250 Year Low

The UK’s coal usage has fallen to a low not seen in 250 years, with only 8 million tonnes used in 2019 – similar levels seen in 1769 – a fall of 83% in just five years. Extinction Rebellion activists seemingly refuse to recognise the UK is leading the world on this. As Cameron once promised: vote blue, go green… 

Hat-tip: @DrSimEvans
mdi-timer 4 August 2020 @ 14:40 4 Aug 2020 @ 14:40 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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