‘No part to play in our future’ Nearly 200 countries agree to phase out coal in COP pledge

Olympic flame arrives in Beijing

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The pledge made at the COP26 climate summit is known as the ‘Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement.’  The pledge requires countries to end investment in coal power plants, increase green power and phase out coal power in major economies during the 2030s and for other countries in the 2040s.

However, China and Russia are not onboard with the plans and neither President Putin nor President Xi Jinping even attended the COP26 climate summit.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Today marks a milestone moment in our global efforts to tackle climate change as nations from all corners of the world unite in Glasgow to declare that coal has no part to play in our future power generation.

“Spearheaded by the UK’s Cop26 presidency, today’s ambitious commitments made by our international partners demonstrate that the end of coal is in sight.

“The world is moving in the right direction, standing ready to seal coal’s fate and embrace the environmental and economic benefits of building a future that is powered by clean energy.”

In addition, 40 countries have committed to end investment in the building of new coal powered plants.

The two coal power plants in the UK are expected to be decommissioned by 2024.

However, former Labour Leader Ed Miliband, said: “Any progress towards powering past coal is welcome, but glaring gaps remain.

“There is no commitment from large emitters like China to stop increasing coal at home, and nothing on the phase-out of other fossil fuels.”

He added: “Whether it’s flirting with a new coal mine or licensing a massive oil field here at home, too often the government has been looking both ways on climate.”

However, the UK is still deciding whether to build a new coal power plant in Cumbria and is still awaiting results from a public inquiry.

The plant would cover steel production instead of energy.

Despite the contribution from the nearly 200 countries, China has yet to make any new significant pledges to lower its environmental footprint.

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Xie Zhenhua, Beijing’s climate negotiator, has since told the BBC the COP26 targets are too ambitious, claiming the goal of keeping global warming to 1.5C would be too difficult.

“If we only focus on 1.5, we are destroying consensus and many countries would demand a reopening of the negotiations,” he said.

He said China had “already been making our biggest possible effort to address climate change”.

“So regarding the fact that China is the current largest emitter, it’s because China is at a special development stage.”

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