Beginning of the end for Coal Power
Business and Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Today marks a milestone moment in our global efforts to tackle climate change as nations from all corners of the world unite in Glasgow to declare that coal has no part to play in our future power generation.”
“Spearheaded by the UK’s COP26 Presidency, today’s ambitious commitments made 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 coal’s fate and embrace the environmental and economic benefits of building a future that is powered by clean energy.” To meet the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees, the global transition to clean power needs to progress four to six times faster than at present.
With coal being the single largest contributor to climate change, phasing it out and delivering a rapid, inclusive transition to clean energy is essential if we are to keep 1.5 degrees alive. Twenty-eight new members in November 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. Chile, Singapore and Durban joined over 150 countries, sub-nationals and businesses, including finance partners NatWest, Lloyds Banking, HSBC and Export Development Canada. This accounts for more than $17 trillion assets now committed to PPCA coal phase-out goals.
There has also been a 76 per cent cut in the number of new coal plants planned globally over the last six years which means the cancellation of 1,000GW of new coal plants since the Paris Agreement, roughly equivalent to around 10 times the UK’s total peak generating capacity. Responding to the UK government securing coalition with commitments to phase out coal power, Jonathan Sims, Carbon Tracker Senior Analyst, told IANS: “Fresh country pledges to end the construction of new coal plants, which is vital if long-term climate goals are to be achievable, send a strong signal that coal is out for the count.”
Dave Jones, Ember’s global lead, said: “Today’s commitments will help to shift whole continents on their journey to phase out coal. This is such a big moment because by far the biggest gap in ambition to get to 1.5 degrees is a rapid collapse in coal generation i.e. for major economies to phase-out coal power by 2030 and the rest of the world by 2040.”