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Britain pledges to phase out coal use but reportedly has plans in works for new coal mine

Britain, the host of the COP26 climate summit, pledged to phase out coal use permanently, but also has plans in the works for a new coal mine.

In one British county, leaders are considering plans to build a new coal mine. The mine would reportedly be for mining coking coal, which would be used for making steel. Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of Britain, has said that he is opposed to the plan, but as it is a local government matter, there isn’t much he can do.

Mike Starkie is the mayor of Copeland Borough Council in Cumbria, where the mine would be, and he is supportive of the project. Starkie told the Associated Press that the end goal was supportive of climate change progress.

According to him, the coal that comes from this mine will only be used for steel, “and if we are going to have the green industrial revolution that we need in developing solar, wind, wave — and certainly here we’d love to develop more nuclear — it’s all going to take significant amounts of steel.”

He continued to defend the project, telling reporters that if they had to import the steel to produce the green energy components, it would create an even bigger carbon footprint. Additionally, imported coal would come from mines “that aren’t net-zero extraction, like the most modern mine that will ever be built, here in Whitehaven.” 

The plan has been in the works for at least a year, and Starkie has been a supporter of it the whole time. When the Cumbria County Council announced they would be revisiting the application earlier this year, Starkie and his associate Trudy Harrison, Copeland’s Member of Parliament, both conservatives, were “dismayed”. 

The country is also looking at the possibility of developing a new oil field off Scotland’s Shetland Islands, which are north of Glasgow, where the climate summit is being held.

ARTICLE: RITA VOGT

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: VOA NEWS

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