(Bloomberg) — The UK’s move to open its first deep coal mine in more than three decades could make investors nervous about the country’s ambitions to hit clean energy goals.
That concern was raised by the senior managing partner of Lombard Odier, Hubert Keller who called the decision “unfortunate.”
The green light for the Woodhouse Colliery project in Whitehaven, north west England has been widely lambasted by lawmakers and campaigners who view the move as a backward step from a country that was one of the first in the world to enshrine net-zero targets in law.
“I can understand the two sides of the debate,” Keller said during an interview with Bloomberg. “The UK steel industry needs coal and there is an argument to produce it locally rather than import it. The problem is that the UK government was positioning itself to be effectively a green leader so instead, that money could have been deployed to help the steel industry to decarbonize itself.”
Read More: UK Coal Mine Dilemma Pits Energy Crisis Against Green Goals
The Guardian newspaper reported on Saturday that US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said he was closely examining the approval of the mine over concerns that it will lead to an increase in emissions and send the wrong signal to developing countries.
In the interview with Bloomberg News, Keller said the decision will also make investors cautious about long-term investments in the UK.
“Investors, particularly in the energy transition, need visibility in policy. And before policy comes philosophy and vision. If the UK government can do a U-turn like this, how reliable is it,” he said.
—With assistance from Ruth David.