Michael Gove’s decision to give the green light to the first new UK coal mine for 30 years has sparked a global backlash.
The levelling up secretary granted planning permission for the Cumbria site earlier this week.
The government said the coal from the mine near Whitehaven, to be known as Woodhouse Colliery, will be used for the production of steel and not for power generation.
But other nations have pointed out that the UK urged the world to “consign coal to history” when it hosted the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow last year.
Fijian prime minister Frank Bainimarama highlighted the apparent double standards as he led the international condemnation on Twitter.
Meanwhile, a former minister in Liberia also accused the UK of hypocrisy over the coal mine decision.
Seychelles-based Angelique Pouponneau, who advises small islands at climate talks, pointed to comments by Cop 26 president and Tory MP Alok Sharma, that the aim of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees is “on life support”.
Mohamed Adow, the director of an energy and climate think tank in Kenya, said the UK was “trashing it’s record and making a mockery of its green credentials”
The global criticism echoed condemnation by environmental campaigners and politicians in the UK.
Friends of the Earth described it as an “appalling decision” that will damage the fight against the climate crisis while not replacing Russian coal.
Greenpeace UK policy director Doug Parr said: “The UK government risks becoming a superpower in climate hypocrisy rather than climate leadership.”