Countries pledge to quit coal — but the U.S., China and India are missing

The Peabody Energy Francisco coal mine in Francisco, Indiana, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021.

Luke 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 fuels more than a third of the energy consumed worldwide, is the single biggest contributor to climate change.

However, China, India and the United States, the three biggest burners of coal worldwide, have not signed up to the PPCA. Other major users and producers of coal, such as Australia and Japan, have also not joined the group.

Some U.S. states and cities, including Philadelphia, New Jersey and Los Angeles, are members, however.

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

The PPCA, whose existing members include the U.K., New Zealand and Germany – Europe’s largest consumer of coal – is working to “advance the transition from unabated coal power generation to clean energy.”

Some major financial institutions, including HSBC, Fidelity International and Vancity – which all 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.

U.K. lawmaker Alok Sharma, who is serving as COP26 president, said, “the end of coal is in sight.”

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

Countries involved have pledged to end domestic and overseas investment in new coal power generation and rapidly scale up the deployment of green energy, the U.K. government said. Developed economies who are signatories have committed to phase out coal power by the 2030s, while the rest of the world’s target is the 2040s.

According to a May report from the IEA, to achieve a net zero emissions economy by 2050, investments in new unabated coal plants must be stopped immediately.

U.K. Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said in a statement on Wednesday that the new commitments being made internationally marked a “milestone moment.”

“Nations from all corners of the world [are uniting] in Glasgow to declare that coal has no part to play in our future power generation,” he said.

“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.”

Source: CNBC