The UK has helped secure a 190-strong coalition of countries and organisations at COP26, with countries such as Poland, Vietnam, Egypt, Chile and Morocco announcing commitments to phase out coal power.
However the absence of Australia, China, India and the US from the deal has received criticism. Last year China accounted for over 50 percent of coal production worldwide, India, Australia and the United States followed at third, fourth and fifth place respectively.
Coal currently provides around 37% of global energy production.
Today’s commitments, brought together through UK-led efforts including the new ‘Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement’, encompass developed and developing countries, major coal users and climate vulnerable countries. This includes 18 countries committing for the first time to phase out and not build or invest in new coal power, including Poland, Vietnam, and Chile, marking a milestone moment at COP26 in the global clean energy transition.
This statement, launched today, 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.
China, Japan and Korea, the three largest public financiers of coal, have committed to end overseas finance for coal generation by the end of 2021. 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.
Business & 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 4 to 6 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 have today signed up to the world’s largest alliance on phasing out coal, the Powering Past Coal Alliance launched and co-chaired by the UK. Chile, Singapore and Durban have today joined over 150 countries, sub-nationals and businesses, 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.
There has also been a 76% cut in the number of new coal plants planned globally over the last 6 years which means the cancellation of 1000GW of new coal plants since the Paris Agreement, roughly equivalent to around 10 times the UK’s total peak generating capacity.