Countries pledge to phase out coal – Community News
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Countries pledge to phase out coal

The Peabody Energy Francisco Coal Mine in Francisco, Indiana, US, on Thursday, September 23, 2021.

Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Twenty-eight countries have joined an international alliance to phase 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 fuels more than a third of global energy consumption, is the biggest contributor to climate change.

However, China, India and the United States, the three largest coal burners in the world, have not joined the PPCA. Other major coal buyers and producers, such as Australia and Japan, have also not joined the group.

However, some US states and cities, including Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Los Angeles, are members.

Of 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 are Chile, Estonia and Mauritius.

The PPCA, whose existing members are the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Germany – Europe’s largest consumer of coal – is “moving from unabated coal generation to clean energy”.

Several major financial institutions, including HSBC, Fidelity International and Vancity — all of which joined the alliance on Wednesday — are also counted among members.

It’s because coal continued to be a hot topic at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow on Thursday.

British lawmaker Alok Sharma, who serves as COP26 chair, said: “The end of coal is in sight.”

He noted that it was the first time countries such as Poland, Vietnam and Chile had committed to ending the use of coal.

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

According to a May report from the IEA, investment in new undisturbed coal-fired power plants must be halted immediately to achieve a net zero-emission economy by 2050.

Britain’s Secretary of State for Affairs, Kwasi Kwarteng, said in a statement on Wednesday that the new commitments being made internationally are a “milestone moment”.

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

“Today’s ambitious commitments from our international partners show that the end of coal is in sight. The world is moving in the right direction, poised to seal the fate of coal and embrace the environmental and economic benefits of building a future powered by clean energy.”