Countries pledge to phase out coal

The Peabody Energy Francisco coal mine in Francisco, Indiana, United States on Thursday, September 23, 2021.

Luc Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Twenty-eight countries have joined an international alliance dedicated to phasing out coal, but the world’s biggest polluters are not among them.

The new members of the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA), which include Ukraine, Poland and Singapore, bring the total number of national governments involved to 48.

Coal, which supplies more than a third of the energy consumed in the world, is the main contributor to climate change.

However, China, India and the United States, the world’s three biggest coal burners, have not joined the PPCA. Other major users and producers of coal, such as Australia and Japan, have not joined the group either.

However, some states and cities in the United States, including Philadelphia, New Jersey and Los Angeles, are members.

Among the new members announced on Wednesday, Poland is the second largest consumer of coal in Europe and the largest coal producer in the region, while Singapore is the first Asian country to join the PPCA. Other additional signatories include Chile, Estonia and Mauritius.

The PPCA, whose current members include the UK, New Zealand and Germany – Europe’s largest coal consumer – is working to “advance the transition from power generation to coal. relentlessly to clean energy ”.

Some large financial institutions, including HSBC, Fidelity International and Vancity – all of which joined the alliance on Wednesday – are also counted among its members.

It comes as coal remained a hot topic at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow on Thursday.

British lawmaker Alok Sharma, who is president of COP26, said “the end of coal is in sight”.

He noted that this was the first time countries like Poland, Vietnam and Chile had made commitments to end the use of coal.

The countries concerned have pledged to halt domestic and foreign investment in new coal-fired power generation and to rapidly step up the deployment of green energy, the UK government said. Developed economies that are signatories have pledged to phase out coal-fired power by the 2030s, while the rest of the world is targeting the 2040s.

To achieve a net zero-emissions economy by 2050, investments in new coal-fired power plants must be halted immediately, according to a May IEA report.

UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said in a statement on Wednesday that the new international commitments marked a “milestone.”

“Nations from all over the world [are uniting] in Glasgow to declare that coal has no role to play in our future electricity generation, ”he said.

“The ambitious commitments made today by our international partners demonstrate that the end of coal is in sight. The world is moving in the right direction, standing ready to seal the fate of coal and reap the environmental and economic benefits of building an energy-powered future. “

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