Which stranded assets should we pick?

Like any liberal do-gooder, my first reaction to hearing the Government had cleared the digging of a £165m mine in Whitehaven with “dismay” – or an expletive not fit to be published.

My second reaction was “what do I know”

  1. Apparently the coke being dug out from under the sea is not for power stations but the stuff needed for steel smelting where steel is still manufactured in the UK.
  2. Apparently the blast furnaces cannot be converted to be fired using naturally sourced energy from tide, wind or sun.
  3. And this being the case , the mine – which is predicted to operate till 2049 may mean that the blast furnaces remain productive and don’t become another stranded asset.

The world needs steel and we want a steel industry in the UK. We currently import coke and until recently we imported from Russia. If the coke was delivered to Scunthorpe and Port Talbot by boat, what would be the net impact compared with what happens today?

If the price of coke paid by the steel makers is lower , what is the economic impact, not just on Whitehaven but on the steel towns. What is the social impact on steelworkers?

I don’t know the answers to any of these questions but I think that many of the questions can be answered by the measures that are being developed to measure climate and social impact.

I don’t think you can disassociate the social and the environmental in ESG and as the governance of this is in the hands of the Government, the E and the S are the key factors in the decision.

I really do care about the environment and I care about social issues – I’m a proper pinko liberal (as Al Rush tells  me). But I am a confused one.

I know that I am pro onshore-wind farms as I can make the economic and social trade offs and do not see the environmental pollution in them.

On more complex issues , such as this, I am less sure. I invest 50% of my pension pot  in a fossil fuel fund , I am fully invested in helping steelworkers understand my pensions. How do I manage my personal conflicts – how can anyone?

Which stranded asset should I pick?

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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2 Responses to Which stranded assets should we pick?

  1. DaveC says:

    Buy some rough land and throw some trees down. Conflict managed.

    If you worry too much about co2 we should stop people using push bikes for transport as it generates more co2 than an EV charged with wind power.

    A sense of perspective is required.

  2. David Boyd says:

    Not wishing to be a pedant, Henry, but it’s a coal mine for extracting coking coal – the coking coal from the mines gets ground up and heated in coke ovens to be turned into coke which is charged into blast furnaces in order to reduce the iron ore into molten iron and slag. That’s the traditional ironmaking process anyhow.

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