Twenty countries and only two U.S. states have joined an international alliance to discontinue the use of coal in terms of power generation before 2030. Coal is accountable for almost half of global emissions of carbon dioxide. The Powering Past Coal will share technology to reduce emissions as well as inspire other countries to eliminate usage.
The alliance currently contains the countries of Angola, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, El Salvador, Fiji, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Portugal and Switzerland. The U.S. states of Washington and Oregon have also joined.
“To meet the Paris Agreement target of staying below 2 degrees, we need to phase out coal,” Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna stated in an interview. “There is also an immediate urgency – coal is literally choking and killing our people. The market has moved, the world has moved. Coal is not coming back,” added McKenna.
Some of the world’s leaders of coal usage, such as China, Germany, India, Russia, and the United States have not yet joined the alliance.
The launching of the alliances comes after U.S. administration officials and energy company representatives promoted “fossil fuels and nuclear power in climate mitigation.” This caused a protest by anti-coal activists and annoyed ministers working on the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
“We show that even if the United States withdraws (from the Paris Agreement), we stand united and this initiative underlines that,” stated Danish Energy and Climate Minister, Lars Christian Lilleholt.
The alliance began with Britain, Canada and the Marshall Islands. The Marshall Islands being susceptible to consequences of climate change and rising sea levels stated that coal was the largest obstacle in controlling rising temperatures.
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“Keeping it in the ground is the safest way to keep us below the survival climate threshold set out in the Paris Agreement,” said David Paul, environment minister of the Marshall Islands.