Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Flickr / Tony Webster
Environment

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

Britain and Canada have joined forces to put an end to the use of coal in electricity generation. 

The UK will be closing all of its power stations by 2025, and Canada will do the same by 2030. 

And now both countries are calling for other world leaders to follow suit in order to finally stop the use of the “dirtiest fossil fuel.” 

Take action: Call on Michael Gove to protect the environment by supporting plans to halve EU food waste

It follows a meeting between Canada’s environment minister, Catherine McKenna, and UK climate minister, Claire Perry, at the Houses of Parliament. 

“Phasing unabated coal power out of the energy mix and replacing it with cleaner technologies will significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, improve the health of our communities, and benefit generations to come,” the pair said in a joint statement. 

“We are doing our part, but we recognise the need to accelerate the international transition from burning coal to using cleaner power sources,” they continued. 

“Today, we announce that Canada and the UK will champion a global alliance on the transition from unabated coal-fired electricity.” 

Read more: David Attenborough and J.K. Rowling Are Among ‘Ethical Champions’ That Brits Want on the New £20 Note

UK Prime Minister Theresa May had a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in September, during which they agreed to join forces on leading the global effort to move away from coal. 

UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd had also previously pledged to phase out coal by 2025.

Rudd said in a speech last November that it was “perverse” and “simply not sustainable” for Britain to be so dependent on the “dirtiest fossil fuel”, reported the Independent

Read more: This British City Is Set to Become ‘World’s First Zero-Emissions Zone’

In 2016, coal provided 9% of the UK’s power generation — down from 22% in 2015. And on April 21 this year, Britain experienced its first full day without using coal power for the first time since the industrial revolution. 

But just five months ago, it emerged that government ministers were still considering allowing coal-fired power stations to continue to operate, if they could reduce their emissions. However, Friday’s announcement means that that is no longer the case. 

The number of coal power stations in Britain has already been falling in recent years, with the closure of three power stations last year, at Rugeley, Ferrybridge, and Longannet. 

Read more: The Biggest Onshore Wind Farm in Wales Has Officially Opened

Meanwhile, the UK has seen a dramatic boost in wind farms and solar farms, thanks to green subsidies, falling costs, and the UK’s obligation to cut greenhouse gases by at least 80% compared to 1990 levels by 2050. 

In Canada, 59% of power is already generated from hydroelectricity.

However, both the UK and Canada still have significant non-coal fossil fuel industries, reported Climate Change News. The UK, for example, announced a £5 million subsidy for North Sea oil exploration in September. 

The Netherlands also announced this week that it would phase out coal by 2030.