20 countries, 2 U.S. states pledge to phase out coal use

A number of countries and several provinces and states formed a British-Canadian-led coalition Thursday to phase out coal use. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Nov. 16 (UPI) — A coalition of 20 countries and several provinces and states have agreed to phase out coal use for electricity, as part of a United Nations climate initiative.

The new group, called the Powering Past Coal Alliance, was announced Thursday at the annual U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.

Members of the coalition — which includes Britain, Canada, France, Mexico, the Netherlands, Italy and Denmark — hope to double their membership by next year’s meeting.

The only U.S. state attached to the coalition is Washington, but Oregon is also reported to have joined. The coalition partners account for just a small percentage of global coal use. Britain and Canada spearheaded the initiative.

“It is a rebuke to Trump from the U.K. and Canada, two of America’s closest allies,” Mohamed Adow of Christian Aid said.

Another notable exception to the alliance is Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke about the nation’s response to climate change in a speech Wednesday but did not announce a coal phaseout.

“Germany is subsidizing climate chaos and is saying it won’t stop,” Shelagh Whitley of Britain’s Overseas Development Institute said.

Alex Doukas from U.S.-based Oil Change International said, “Germany should be ashamed of itself.”

The coalition is seen by some as the beginning of the end of the coal industry.

“Reducing global coal consumption should be a vital and urgent priority for all countries and states. Unabated coal is the dirtiest, most polluting way of generating electricity,” Claire Perry, Britain’s minister for climate change and industry, said.

“The Powering Past Coal Alliance will signal to the world that the time of coal has passed. The U.K. is committed to completely phasing out unabated coal-fire power generation no later than 2025 and we hope to inspire others to follow suit.”


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