The U.K. government has announced that it is phasing out coal power, and expects to achieve total elimination in the year 2025. Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd also stated that coal-fired power stations will be extremely restricted by 2023, in roughly eight years' time.

"Energy security comes first and I am determined to ensure that the U.K. has secure, affordable, and clean energy supplies that hardworking families and businesses can rely on now and in the future," said Rudd in a governmental press release. "It cannot be satisfactory for an advanced economy like the U.K. to be relying on polluting, carbon intensive 50-year-old coal-fired power stations."

But some citizens aren't too optimistic that the government will follow through on its proposals. As ArsTechnica reporter Sebastian Anthony points out, a report released just this month by the U.K.-based Overseas Development Institute finds that the U.K. is the only G7 nation to dramatically increase their subsidies for fossil fuels, despite an earlier pledge to rid their country of such subsidies altogether. He calls the move "hypocritical."

"Let me be clear," said Rudd. "This is not the future. We need to build a new energy infrastructure, fit for the 21st century." 

What that infrastructure will be was initially left unsaid, but The Guardian reported in February of this year that the U.K. was on target to meet 2020 energy goals, thanks mostly to an increased reliance on wind power. A few short months later, they reported that Rudd had halted subsidies for wind power. Most suspect that the new energy will come from natural gas or nuclear power. In an interview with the BBC, Rudd confirmed that gas will be the primary replacement; a better but ultimately disappointing alternative for proponents of sustainable energy.

"Our determination to cut carbon emissions as cost-effectively as possible is crystal clear," said a decisive Rudd, "and this step will make us one of the first developed countries to commit to taking coal off our system."

Photo: Patrick Pekal | Flickr

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