Many nations join call for no new coal plants
New Delhi: Following China’s announcement to stop overseas coal power finance, a group of countries like Sri Lanka, Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, Montenegro and the UK have announced a ‘No New Coal Power Compact’, aiming to encourage all other countries to commit to halt construction of new coal-fired power plants to keep the 1.5-degree Celsius goal within reach.
For the first time, a diverse group of developed and developing countries have come together to give impetus to global efforts to end new coal-fired power generation.
Their new initiative requires signatories to immediately cease permitting and end new construction of unabated coal-fired power generation projects by the end of the year.
These countries are calling upon all other governments to take these steps and join the Compact ahead of the UN Climate Summit COP26 to help deliver on the summit’s ambitious goal to “consign coal power to history”.
The No New Coal Power Compact responds to the UN Secretary-General’s call for countries to end construction of new coal-fired power this year, as the first step to keep the 1.5-degree Celsius goal within reach and avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change, as well as to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 7 to provide affordable and clean energy.
The announcement made on Friday at the UN High Level Dialogue on Energy in the form of an Energy Compact signals commitment of the signatories to take decisive action to end new coal construction and lead other countries by example — recognising its adverse impacts on climate change and air pollution.
Energy Compacts are living documents and other countries are encouraged to join. The group aims to gather the largest number of new signatories as soon as possible.
The UN High-Level Dialogue on Energy is a Secretary General-led summit discussing energy for the first time in 40 years. It recognises the critical role of energy in advancing climate goals, as well as development priorities, including COVID recovery processes.
The countries launching the compact can advocate for other countries to commit to “no new coal power”, speaking from the strong foundation of their own experience.
Sri Lanka and Chile have recently shown leadership in cancelling new coal projects and making political statements that they will no longer pursue new coal power.
Denmark, France, Germany, Montenegro and the UK have already cancelled their last coal projects and are now focused on accelerating the retirement of their remaining coal power generation.
The signing countries recognize that countries, workers, and communities in the developing world require support in moving away from coal power generation in a sustainable and economically inclusive way.
Among the needed forms of support, UN Energy, the Energy Transition Council and Powering Past Coal Alliance are there to assist countries that are willing to begin this process.
Alok Sharma, COP26 President-Designate, said: “Consigning coal to history is crucial to avoiding catastrophic climate change. I am delighted that the
UK is partnering a diverse group of countries are showing bold leadership to cancel coal through the No New Coal Power Compact, demonstrating the positive impact that countries working closely together can have in generating climate action.
“The cost of clean renewable technologies continues to fall, making coal expensive and uncompetitive. I call on more countries to come forward and sign up to this compact ahead of COP26, and play their part to limit global warming and keep 1.5 degrees alive.”
Michael R. Bloomberg, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions, said: “Ending coal-fired power is a global imperative — for the climate and public health — that will create good-paying jobs around the world.
“At Bloomberg Philanthropies, we’ve already helped retire over 65 per cent of US coal plants and over half of Europe’s too. As we continue to expand that work, it’s encouraging to see more countries and regions raise their ambitions and lead the way forward.”