Countries pledge to phase out climate-responsible coal – The New Indian Express
GLASGOW: Several major coal-using nations have pledged for the first time to phase out their use of highly polluting fossil fuels or accelerate existing plans to do so, while others have announced their pledges to end investments in new coal-fired power plants.
UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said on Wednesday evening that commitments made on the sidelines of the UN climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland meant the “end of coal is in sight”. But critics noted that several major economies still had not set a date to end their dependence on fuel, which is a major source of global warming emissions.
The UK government said promises of new or earlier deadlines to end the use of coal came from countries such as Poland, Ukraine, Vietnam and Chile. Further details on which countries were doing what were to be announced Thursday at the conference, known as COP26.
While Kwarteng called the agreements “an important moment in our global efforts to tackle climate change,” his opposition Labor counterpart said there were “glaring gaps” such as lack of commitment large emitters to stop increasing coal nationally.
Labor spokesman Ed Miliband also noted that there were no new commitments on phasing out oil and gas, the other major fossil fuels, he said.
Existing targets to curb global warming are forcing countries to stop burning coal, but many major economies, including the United States, China, India and Japan, have not set any official date to end to its use.
Still, experts said the announcement and others have been made so far from Oct.31 to Nov.31. Summit 12 showed the growing momentum to abandon coal.
“Today’s commitments will help move entire continents on their journey to phase out coal,” said Dave Jones of energy think tank Ember.
Poland is the second largest user of coal in Europe after Germany, which is expected to phase it out as early as 2030. While the Polish government had previously agreed to end the use of coal by 2049, the new commitment would advance this deadline by at least a decade.
Ukraine, the third largest consumer of coal in Europe, is also bringing its coal deadline forward, from 2050 to 2035.
“The progress on coal presented at COP26 demonstrates that the conditions are right for a global exit from coal,” said Leo Roberts, senior researcher at environmental think tank E3G.
“We now need to see the massive increase in clean energy funding available quickly to ensure that all countries can confidently switch from coal to clean,” he added.
But some environmental activists said the pledges did not go far enough.
“Oil and gas emissions already far exceed coal and are booming, while coal is already entering a terminal decline,” said Murray Worthy of the Global Witness campaign group. “It’s a small step forward when a giant leap was needed.”
The coal deals are not part of the formal negotiations of the UN talks in Glasgow. But British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose country is hosting the conference, had said he wanted to see deals on coal, cars, trees and money.