What Does the BBC Expect Svalbard to Do When Its Coal Mine Is Shut?


By Paul Homewood


There is a back story to that BBC report about Svalbard.

Svalbard has been mining coal since the early 1900s. The last remaining mine is scheduled to shut in three years time purely to help Norway reduce emissions. The BBC knows which side it is on:

“if the fastest-warming place on earth can’t give up fossil fuels, what hope for everywhere else?”

It is of course deeply ironic that Svalbard’s climate was just as mild when these mines opened as it is now!

Most of the coal produced goes to Svalbard’s coal power station, which provides just about all of the island’s electricity, as well providing district heating in Longyearbyen. The rest of the coal is exported to European steel mills. So just what does the BBC propose the islanders do for heating and electricity when there is no more coal? Most likely they will have to import it, although there are also plans to burn oil instead. Either way emissions will increase rather then decrease.

In the longer run, there is a crackpot plan to use hydrogen, which would be produced by electrolysis from surplus wind power in Finnmark, hundreds of miles away. This wind power does not actually exist at the moment, so more wind farms would have to be built there. And the resulting hydrogen would have to be shipped, involving more cost and emissions.

Other plans involve building a long, extremely expensive undersea cable or using LNG.

All of these plans would be much more expensive than Svalbard’s coal power, and would inevitably take years to implement. In the meantime, maybe the BBC would like Svalbarders to burn whale oil, as their ancestors did in the past. Hey, at least it’s “renewable”, though I doubt even the BBC would call it “green”!

But the ultimate irony is that, as the BBC report, tourism is now the main source of income for Svalbard. Instead of demanding that Svalbarders give up their coal, maybe the BBC should campaign for an end to emission spewing tourist flights to Svalbard and other Arctic and Antarctic locations, so popular with eco-loons.

via Watts Up With That?


October 29, 2022 at 08:50AM

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