Since signing the Paris agreement in 2015, which aims to wean the world off fossil fuels, several countries have made national plans to phase out coal from their power supply mix before 2030, environment ministers said on Thursday.
The Powering Past Coal Alliance brings together many of these countries and others that will commit to phasing out coal, sharing technology to reduce emissions, such as carbon capture and storage, and encouraging the rest of the world to cut usage.
Coal is responsible for more than 40 percent of global emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
“Coal is literally choking out cities and our people. Around the world, we see close to a million deaths a year from air pollution created by burning coal. Not only is there a human cost, there is also a huge economic cost totaling billions of dollars a year,” Catherine Mckenna, Canadian environmental minister.
The alliance includes Angola, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, El Salvador, Fiji, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, The Marshall Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Portugal, and Switzerland.
“Actually, I tried to ban in my country by a new law two new authorization to try to find fossil energy, and specifically coal, and we will ban production of electricity by 2022. The production of coal, so of course, we are close to you and congratulations for this coalition,” said French environment minister Nicolas Hulot.
The US States of Washington and Oregon, as well as five Canadian provinces, have also signed up.
The alliance, which is not legally binding, aims to have at least 50 members by the next U.N. Climate Summit in 2018 to be held in Poland’s Katowice, one of Europe’s most polluted cities.
But some of the world’s biggest coal users, such as China, India, the United States, Germany and Russia, have not joined. — Reuters