ARE THE TORIES as green as they seem? Labour has cast doubt on the Government’s environmental credentials as it announced the result of a “coal closure” consultation.
The two parties agree that coal-fired power generating plants emit too much carbon dioxide and the plants should either be fitted with technology that can reduce emissions – or be closed. The Government has now announced that emissions must be reduced by October 2025 – so any coal operated plants which have not been altered will have to close by that date.
Coal is a traditional source of power in the UK – but it has been losing market share since the UK began playing its part in combating climate change. Over the last two years, coal has accounted for less than 10% of generated electricity.
So far, so good – but what the Government has not said is how it will deal with the loss of jobs which will occur if any coal-fired power stations do go ahead with closure. It acknowledges that the reduction in the use of coal for generating electricity will lead to job losses – mainly in Yorkshire and the Humber and South Wales – possibly as high as 47,000 jobs in generating and others in the supply chain.
This is where Labour’s criticism comes in. “While Labour supports the phased removal of coal from the system by 2025, unfortunately, this consultation leaves open a number of loopholes that could hinder the process,” said Alan Whitehead MP, Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Minister.
“The Government’s lacklustre support for renewables and scrappage of a number of green schemes has left it on course to miss its own climate targets. Similarly, their decision to massively reduce the levels of funding for carbon capture and storage, which would help a genuinely inclusive transition, is disappointing,” Mr Whitehead explained.
“Unlike this Government, Labour is committed to supporting future renewable energy projects to build the clean economy of the future,” he promised.