bne IntelliNews – bneGREEN: coal dominates at COP26 as more and more countries join the clean transition

Poland, Ukraine, Vietnam and a host of other major coal-producing countries have made clear commitments to phase out coal-fired electricity in the coming years, as the UK Presidency of COP26 has affirmed that ” the end of coal is in sight “.

A coalition of countries and organizations of 190 members endorsed the declaration of a global transition from coal to clean energy at COP26 in Glasgow.

The statement means that 18 countries have for the first time pledged to phase out coal at home and not to build or invest in new coal-fired power plants. Poland, Ukraine, Vietnam and Chile are among those countries, which means that some of the biggest coal burners outside of the richest countries in the world have now joined the global transition to clean energy.

However, those absent included China, India, the United States and Russia, significantly weakening the future effectiveness of the new deal.

Passed to coal

Also at COP26, the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA) separately announced that 28 new members have joined the organization, a group of governments, businesses and local authorities that aims to phase out coal in their homes and accelerate the global transition from coal to clean energy. .

Ukraine, Chile, Singapore, Mauritius, Azerbaijan, Slovenia and Estonia have all joined, as well as Ukraine.

This means that almost two-thirds of governments in the OECD and the EU are now members of the PPCA and are on track to phase out coal by 2030.

Ukraine has said it will end coal-fired electricity by 2035, while investing heavily in renewables and ensuring a just transition for workers and communities. This is a major step for a country which has the third largest coal park in Europe after Germany and Poland.

“Ukraine is moving towards decarbonization of the energy sector, in particular the complete dismantling of coal-fired power plants [TPPs], as well as a significant increase in the production of renewable energy. This goal, however, requires the development of highly flexible and low-carbon production, as well as the integration of the energy markets of Ukraine and the EU. In this context, we are working with our international partners to attract investment, technology and expertise, ”said German Galuschenko, Minister of Energy of Ukraine.

DTEK, the largest private investor in Ukraine’s energy sector, has also joined the Alliance, pledging to power coal-free operations by 2040.

Likewise, Chile set 2040 as its coal-free date, while Mauritius set 2030 and Croatia also joined, setting 2033 as its coal-free date.

Singapore is the first country in Asia to join the PPCA and, as a leading financial center, it is committed to catalyzing green finance for the continent’s transition to greater sustainability.

A large group of financial institutions have also joined the Alliance, reflecting a series of commitments that ended international public financing of coal this year. These include: NatWest, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Fidelity International, Impax Asset Management, Generation Investment Management (UK), Ethos Foundation (Switzerland), SCOR Global Investments (France), Vancity (Canada) and United Church of Canada.

Export Development Canada is the first export credit agency to join the Alliance and has played a key role in ending OECD export credit support for coal-fired power plants. Together, the Alliance’s 33 financial members now represent more than $ 17 trillion in assets.

Coal to clean energy

Poland’s support for the declaration of a global transition from coal to clean energy means that the EU’s move away from coal is now much stronger.

Vietnam’s support is a beacon of progress for other Southeast Asian countries, leaving only India and China as the continent’s main coal burners who have not joined the global phase-out movement. .

The Declaration on the Global Transition from Coal to Clean Energy covers four main issues. It urges the signatories to end all investments in new coal-fired power generation nationally and internationally and to rapidly step up the deployment of clean power generation.

It also sets a target date of the 2030s for ending coal in major economies, and the 2040s for the rest of the world.

Countries also need to invest in a just transition away from coal power in a way that benefits workers and communities, thereby alleviating unemployment and the economic impact of coal shutdowns.

The statement was announced at COP26 by UK Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

“The ambitious commitments made today by our international partners show that the end of coal is in sight. The world is heading in the right direction, ready to seal the fate of coal and reap the environmental and economic benefits of building a future powered by clean energy, ”said Kwarteng.

There have been deals to end coal funding in recent months, but this is the first time that a long list of coal emitters has committed to ending coal power in the two next decades.

The G7, G20 and OECD have all agreed to end coal funding overseas the G20 just last week.


China is the biggest threat to accelerating the decline of coal. While China is actually a world leader in building new solar and wind power with the goal of reducing coal in the long run, it is also the world’s largest consumer of coal and the world’s largest emitter.

Importantly, he expects emissions to increase for the remainder of the decade and recently refused to advance his target date for peak emissions.

For India, coal is a crucial fuel, and although Prime Minister Modi said on Monday November 1 that renewables would account for 50% of electricity by 2030, the rest is mostly coal.

The move away from coal at COP26 will now put considerable pressure on China, India, the United States and Russia to make comparable statements in the future to reduce their dependence on coal.

About Virginia Ahn

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