In yet another call for the UK government to end its love affair with coal, hundreds of protesters have today shut down the UK’s largest opencast coal mine in Ffos-y-fran, South Wales.
The UK has pledged to end coal use by 2025, but by continuing to dig up the brown stuff it will still have a hand in driving global temperatures over 2DegC of warming.
Today’s protest calls on the government to ensure all UK coal is kept in the ground by closing its mines, and supports a local campaign to prevent new coal mines at Nant Llesg.
Coal is in crisis and last week the Aberthaw power station – which uses 95 per cent of the coal mined at Ffos-y-fran – announced it is scaling back operations, another sign the era of UK coal is coming to an end.
With collapsing fossil fuel prices, company bankruptcies and massive divestments, there have never been a better moment to break free from dirty energy and today’s action is the beginning of a global wave of civil disobedience calling for a 100 per cent renewable future.
- Coal has no place in a world acting on climate change. In Paris, governments committed to keep global warming ‘well below’ 2DegC and achieving this aim means keeping the vast majority of coal, oil and gas in the ground. The UK’s aging coal plants are some of the most polluting in Europe, responsible for 20 per cent of the country’s CO2 emissions in 2014. Many European countries, including the UK, arealready shifting away from this dirty energy source, and now pressure is on all countries to leave this toxic party.
- The UK has an historic opportunity to shift to renewables; and reap the huge benefits of doing so. In 2015, the UK generated 25 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources, and last month, solar energy alone generated more electricity than coal for a full day. By shifting from coal to renewables the UK would be negating some of the 18,200 premature deaths and €43 billion in health costs caused by European coal every year and support an industry providing 112,000 UK jobs and £14.9 billion in economic gains.
- Dirty companies won’t change their ways unforced, so people are upping the pressure. With 2015 coming in as the hottest year on record, the impacts of climate change hitting communities with increasing intensity and a fossil fuel industry in crisis, the action in Wales marks the start of a global wave of direct action calling for an urgent transition away from fossil fuels. Across the next 12 days, events will take place across six continents targeting the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects and demanding a safe, renewable future.