Lorna Slater MSP, co-leader of the Scottish Greens, announced on 15 October that the Scottish government will not support any future coal extraction.
At the Scottish Greens conference in Dundee, Slater declared: “The coal era is over. And I’m calling on the UK Government to follow us. To make the right call for once. To ban coal extraction for good.”
This decision means that no new permissions will be granted for coal extraction in Scotland, apart from in ‘exceptional circumstances’.
Following Glasgow’s hosting of COP26 in 2021, Scotland has set a 2045 goal for net-zero emissions.
Although there are currently no existing coal mines in Scotland, a proposed new mining site in Cumbria operated by West Cumbria Mining will, if opened, cross into Dumfries and Galloway.
A decision on the opening of this mine has been delayed several times, but is expected to be announced by 8 November.
If opened, this would be the first new coal mine in 30 years in the UK.
Slater referred to the potential opening of this new mine as ‘Westminster climate denial’ and that it would catastrophically damage the UK’s international reputation.
This comes as Conservative MPs in Westminster have been instructed to vote against a Labour motion to oppose fracking, another environmentally damaging method of extracting fossil fuels.
Slater criticised continuous Conservative pro-fracking actions as ‘the actions of climate criminals’ and urged the UK Government to take the same measures as the Scottish Government.
She said: “While we use the powers available to us to deliver on our climate commitments, the Tory Government in Westminster are using theirs to deliver for their friends in the fossil fuel industry.
“In just the last few weeks they have opened up our sea to more oil and gas production, brought back fracking to England, threatened to ban solar farms, and refused to put a windfall tax on the obscene profits of the fossil fuel giants.”
Mark Ruskell MSP, the Greens’ energy and environment spokesperson, has also previously called for the UK to follow Scotland’s lead on climate policy, by saying “climate change knows no borders, and nor should our response.”
“Coal power-plant and oilseed” by x1klima is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.