Press release: 07 December 2022

Cumbria decision “flies in the face” of UK’s climate commitments

Today’s approval of the Cumbria coal mine defies climate science and legally-binding carbon budgets, ClientEarth lawyers have warned.

The coal mine will extract coking coal for steel making and there has been widespread opposition over the project’s significant harmful climate impact.

Joanne Etherton, Head of Climate at ClientEarth, said: “The approval flies in the face of warnings from the International Energy Agency, which has made it clear that any new fossil fuel projects risk up-ending the Paris Agreement.

“The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said that global emissions must peak by 2025 at the very latest to keep warming below 1.5 degrees – and yet the Cumbria coal mine is intended to operate for decades to come.

“A new coal mine only makes it harder for the UK Government to meet its legally-binding carbon budgets, which it was already well off-track to meeting even before this decision and has been ordered by the High Court to revise its Net Zero Strategy. The Cumbria mine would lock in emissions until 2049, which is well after the 2035 date by which the Climate Change Committee and the Government anticipate UK steelmaking to reach net-zero.

“This decision also risks leaving investors with stranded fossil fuel assets. The transition to renewables will continue to ramp up, and the coal market will dwindle. It throws into doubt the UK’s promise at COP26 to make itself the world’s first net zero financial centre and sends a confusing signal to the financial markets.”


Notes to editors:
  • Earlier this year, ClientEarth wrote to EMR Capital regarding West Cumbria Mining.
About ClientEarth

ClientEarth is a non-profit organisation that uses the law to create systemic change that protects the Earth for – and with – its inhabitants. We are tackling climate change, protecting nature and stopping pollution, with partners and citizens around the globe. We hold industry and governments to account, and defend everyone’s right to a healthy world. From our offices in Europe, Asia and the USA we shape, implement and enforce the law, to build a future for our planet in which people and nature can thrive together.