COP26: Countries pledge to phase out coal and stop financing fossil fuel projects

Canada, the UK and the US are amongst 20 international locations that pledged to cease $18 billion of finance a yr to worldwide fossil gas initiatives, whereas 23 international locations agreed to section out coal


4 November 2021

An aerial view at Ffos-y-Fran opencast coalmine

An aerial view of Ffos-y-Fran opencast coal mine within the UK

Matthew Horwood/Getty Pictures

Efforts to finish the world’s reliance on fossil fuels obtained two main boosts on the COP26 summit immediately, as 20 governments promised to cease financing oil, coal and fuel initiatives past their borders, and several other international locations pledged to section out coal energy.

Ending using coal, oil and fuel isn’t on the official agenda on the assembly in Glasgow, UK, however is a key intention of campaigners and several other international locations. A latest evaluation discovered that if the world is to fulfill its most formidable local weather objective of holding warming to 1.5°C, 89 per cent of coal, 58 per cent of oil and 59 per cent of fuel reserves should keep within the floor.

Canada, the UK and the US are among the many 20 international locations that signed an announcement immediately committing to halt using public funding for worldwide fossil gas vitality initiatives by the tip of 2022. It’s also backed by 5 public banks, together with the European Funding Financial institution. Collectively, the group is estimated to offer $18 billion of finance a yr, by traces of credit score and different measures.

“That is unbelievable information,” says Nina Seega on the College of Cambridge. “We all know that the US is among the many high 5 G20 international locations for worldwide public finance for fossil fuels. Their inclusion within the record is completely key.”

Nonetheless, the transfer doesn’t preclude backing home initiatives and permits for exceptions in “restricted” circumstances if they’re deemed in line with the Paris Settlement’s objectives. “It must be complemented by related home bulletins,” says Seega.

In the meantime, the world’s seventh-biggest consumer of coal energy, Indonesia, and the thirteenth largest, Poland, had been amongst 23 international locations that dedicated to stopping new coal energy schemes and phasing out current infrastructure. “The top of coal is in sight,” stated COP26 president Alok Sharma immediately.

Dave Jones at UK non-profit organisation Ember says: “To have a concentrate on phasing out coal in creating international locations in Asia, that’s fairly monumental. And with the shifts in Europe and Africa, this actually is a powerful deal.” The Coal to Clear Energy Transition Assertion requires high-income international locations to section out coal someday within the 2030s and low-income ones to take action within the 2040s.

Poland has labeled itself as falling within the latter camp, regardless of being one of many world’s 25 largest economies. Indonesia insisted it’s going to solely meet the objective if it receives monetary help from wealthier international locations.

The timeline can be too late for what the Worldwide Power Company says is required to restrict international warming to 1.5°C. That may require firmer dates of no later than 2030 and 2040, respectively. Seega says the deal is “actually, actually excellent news”, however she hopes the dates might be introduced ahead.

There are omissions within the alliance, principally the highest three coal power-generating international locations: China, India and the US. Nonetheless, Sharma rejected the concept that the US wasn’t dedicated to phasing out coal, noting it had beforehand backed an announcement that promised an “overwhelmingly decarbonised energy system within the 2030s”.

An additional squeeze on fossil gas manufacturing is anticipated subsequent week at COP26, with new international locations anticipated to hitch an alliance led by Costa Rica and Denmark to cease future extraction of oil and fuel. The UK, COP26’s host, hasn’t made such a pledge.

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