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Environment

These 20 Countries Are Phasing Out Coal by 2030

Britain and Canada are leading the global effort to phase out coal, launching an international alliance that has been signed by 20 countries and two US states. 

The two countries announced last month that they would stop using coal, and challenged the rest of the world to join them. 

Now, the alliance has gained international support, and officially launched on Thursday at the COP23 climate conference in Bonn, Germany. 

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The Powering Past Coal alliance, which has also been spearheaded by the Marshall Islands, aims to phase out coal entirely to cut carbon emissions by 2030. 

“We need to phase out coal,” Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, told a news conference at the launch of the alliance. “There is also an immediate urgency — coal is literally choking and killing our people. The market has moved, the world has moved. Coal is not coming back.” 

Other members of the alliance include Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, New Zealand, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Mexico. And the goal is to have at least 50 countries signed up by the UN climate summit in 2018.

The US states of Washington and Oregon have also signed up to the non-legally binding alliance. Major coal users like China, India, the US, Russia, and Germany haven’t joined, however, both India and China have set out ambitious plans for using solar energy.

Read more: The UK and Canada Just Committed to Stop Using Coal for Energy

Countries who have signed have agreed to share emission-reducing technology, such as carbon capture and storage, according to news agency Reuters . And they also intend to put their combined power to use in encouraging the rest of the world to cut out coal.

Globally, coal is responsible for more than 40% of global emissions of carbon dioxide.

The UK has already made great strides in the effort to cut out coal. In 2016, coal provided 9% of the UK’s power generation — down from 22% in 2015. On April 21 this year, Britain experienced its first full day without using coal power for the first time since the industrial revolution.

Three of Britain’s largest coal power stations, at Rugeley, Ferrybridge, and Longannet, also closed last year. 

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The global coal alliance was launched at the ongoing United Nations climate change negotiations (COP23), which is being held in Bonn, in Germany. 

Mohamed Adow, the international climate lead at Christian Aid told Reuters the alliance is a “rebuke to President Trump from the UK and Canada, two of America’s closest allies, that his obsession for dirty energy will not spread.” 

The purpose of the COP23 is to work out exactly how to implement the Paris Climate Agreement, signed by nearly 200 countries in December 2015, which aims to curb carbon emissions and contain global warming to 2C. The agreement officially goes into effect in 2020. 

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Countries have been submitting action plans to the UN climate change body, to outline how they intend to cut greenhouse gas emissions. 

The US is the only country in the world refusing to adhere to the global effort to address climate change. Although Nicaragua and Syria had also both initially failed to sign up to the agreement, they have both agreed to join in the past two months.

Trump announced in June that the US would be withdrawing from the climate accord, and he plans to be out by Nov. 4 2020. 

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