Coal under attack in the UK

The UK’s remaining coal-fired power stations will be shut by 2025 with their use restricted by 2023, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd proposed in a speech on Nov 18th, unveiling a new energy strategy. Currently, coal provides about a quarter of the UK’s electricity.

Her speech comes amid concerns that the UK could suffer from blackouts as a result of short supplies, brought about in large part from the closure of a number of power stations that have come to the end of their working lives.

In response, I said:

“On the face of it, replacing coal with gas rather than renewables looks like an outbreak of common sense, although replacing perfectly good coal-fired plants is a very large misallocation of resources.  But what are Ms. Rudd’s plans for sourcing the gas?  Is she proposing ever more dependence on politically unstable sources like Russia?  Or does she now have a practical plan to exploit indigenous gas resources?”

“Coal is reliable and low-cost.  It is coal closures which have played a large part in the very parlous state of electricity supply in Britain today.  At a time when the National Grid is having to call on emergency diesel generation, and is looking at asking factories to stop production at peak times, it is perverse to be planning to close 25% of our generating capacity.”

“Germany is currently building or refurbishing a couple of dozen coal-fired plants.  Ms. Rudd needs to explain why she feels the need to close perfectly good coal-fired plants when other EU member-states are building them and Poland, for example, is resolutely refusing to give up its coal capacity”.

 Coal under attack in the EU too

We have long been familiar with the European Commission’s lavish funding of “green” NGOs, who campaign against fossil fuels, and in favour of expensive and intermittent renewables – a policy option which has done untold damage to the British economy, and to European economies, forcing up energy prices, driving energy intensive businesses out of the EU altogether, taking their jobs and investment with them.  And meantime these same policies force households and pensioners into fuel poverty, causing some to have to choose between heating and eating – and certainly causing thousands of “excess deaths” (in the demographers’ chilling phrase) from winter cold.

Our Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change Amber Rudd plans to replace our existing coal capacity with gas, which is better than renewables – although replacing viable coal plants unnecessarily represents a huge misallocation of resources.

Now we learn that it is not just the European NGOs (funded in part by your taxes) who are pushing for the end of coal generation.  A study by Euracoal, the European industry association, shows that additional torrents of money are flowing into Europe from deep-pocketed organisations and individuals in the USA and elsewhere.  A particular player in this damaging game is a very large American funder, ClimateWorksFoundation, which in turn is funded by the Hewlett Foundation, the Packard Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Oak Foundation and others.

This is an outrageous, ideologically-driven effort to interfere with democratic decision-making in the EU, and is contributing to the vast economic damage which climate paranoia is doing.  Damaging, and futile, since as my former colleague and Finnish MEP Eija-Ritta  Korhola PhD put it,

“We are not cutting emissions – we are simply exporting them”.

These foreign funders are doing nothing to save the planet – but they will certainly cost you money, and could cost you your job into the bargain.

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