23 countries make first-time commitment to coal phase-out

coal
Image by Martina Janochová from Pixabay

At COP26, the UK has secured commitments from a coalition of 190 countries and organisations to phase out coal power.

This includes 23 countries committing for the first time to phase out and not build or invest in new coal power, including Indonesia, South Korea, Poland, Vietnam, and Chile, marking an important milestone for the energy transition.

The commitment to coal phase-out is based on the new ‘Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement’, which encompasses developed and developing nations, major coal users and climate-vulnerable countries.

The statement commits nations across the world to:

  • End all investment in new coal power generation domestically and internationally
  • Rapidly scale up deployment of clean power generation
  • Phase out coal power in economies in the 2030s for major economies and 2040s for the rest of the world
  • Make a just transition away from coal power in a way that benefits workers and communities

This announcement comes after China, Japan and Korea committed to ending overseas finance for coal generation during the UK’s incoming COP26 Presidency.

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Agreements at the G7, G20 and OECD to end public international coal finance send a strong signal that the world economy is shifting to renewables.

This could end over 40GW of coal across 20 countries, equivalent to over half of the UK’s electricity generating capacity.

Besides the commitment to the coal phase-out Statement, twenty-eight new members have today signed up to the world’s largest alliance on phasing out coal, the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA) launched and co-chaired by the UK, including finance partners NatWest, Lloyds Banking, HSBC and Export Development Canada. This accounts for over $17 trillion assets now committed to PPCA coal phase-out goals.

In order to ensure a just transition, the UK government has also launched the International Just Transition Declaration, to ensure minimal impact on emerging economies as they move away from coal. So far, 13 countries have signed, as well as the UK and EU Commission, covering a broad spectrum of the world’s donor funding, now driving towards a just transition for communities around the world.

FCDO Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford said: “A just and inclusive transition to clean energy is a win-win for the UK and Africa. Phasing out coal is a central objective of the UK’s COP Presidency and will support a cleaner, greener future for British people while creating hundreds of thousands of green jobs across the developing world.

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“This new funding will transform the support on offer for African countries transitioning to renewable energy. The Africa Regional Climate and Nature Programme will support green electricity networks across Africa, benefitting more than 4 million people, and the Transforming Energy Access platform will see 25 million more people across the developing world access clean energy.”

Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy, said: “Energy Day at COP 26 is an important milestone for building momentum on Sustainable Development Goal 7 and the just, equitable clean energy transitions it can support.

“We are the architects of a sustainable future for all. Today I call on all governments to raise the level of ambition necessary to fill the financing gaps and to ensure an energy future that truly leaves no one behind.”

Minister Schulze, German Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, said:” Phasing out coal is essential to reach our climate targets. In the near future, we will have left behind all fossil fuels and live in a new and sustainable energy world based on renewable energies.

“In order to get there, we need to actively shape the potential social impacts and support the affected regions in creating good sustainable new jobs. This means ensuring a just and inclusive transition together with all relevant stakeholders.

“Germany is willing to share its experiences with changing economic patterns and is thus supporting the Coal to Clean Statement and the Just Transition Declaration. Germany is underlining its commitment to further support the pathway towards a safe, sustainable and climate-friendly energy future globally.”

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