PLANS for a coal mine under the west Cumbrian coast have come under further scrutiny this week, following a summit on ‘Power Past Coal.’

The Powering Past Coal Alliance Global Summit 2021 on Tuesday saw Alok Sharma, president of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, make a plea. He said: “Last week, the UNFCCC published its synthesis report.

“This showed that, so far, countries’ 2030 emissions reductions targets are nowhere near enough to meet the Paris Agreement.

“This must change. And it must change urgently. We need far more ambitious targets around the world.

“But we also need practical action to deliver them. With power accounting for a quarter of global emissions. Decarbonising the sector is absolutely vital. So we must consign coal power to history. And embrace the benefits of low-cost, clean energy.”

The mere existence of the Powering Past Coal Alliance summit has led to the Government being accused of hypocrisy. The UK is one of the leading countries in the summit, despite having no objection to plans for a coking coal mine on the Whitehaven coast.

Secretary of state Robert Jenrick was criticised for failing to call-in the plans whilst the Government appeals for a carbon-neutral future.

It was reported on Monday that British Steel expressed concerns to Cumbria County Council over the sulphur content of coal extracted.

Although plans were passed, the council has since announced that it will reconsider the plans amid the backlash and environmental concerns.

It is now being reported that the mine could raise UK emissions by more than all of the currently operating coal mines combined.

Matthew Pennycook MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Climate Change said: “The already threadbare case for the Cumbrian coal mine now lies in tatters. Far from being essential to the future of our steel industry or providing Cumbrians with long-term, secure jobs as its Conservative cheerleaders argue, this project may not even produce coal that is fit to be used by British companies or competitive on the global market.”

“It’s a false choice to pit climate against jobs. Areas like West Cumbria need good jobs, but Ministers should be working flat out to ensure they are green jobs that are secure for the long-term.

“If approved, this mine will increase UK emissions, undermine progress toward our legally-binding net zero target and damage our credibility and reputation in the year we host the critical COP26 UN climate summit. The Government must finally do the right thing and intervene to stop it”.