Australia turns down pledge to phase out coal emissions

Of the 40 countries in agreeance of phasing out coal-fired power; Australia, America and China are not on the list.

The UK initiated ‘Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement’ was announced at COP26 on November 4.

The statement includes a total of 190 countries and organisations that have agreed to no longer build or invest in new coal power and phase it out of existing projects.

Coal power to green power. Credit: Shuttershock

Taking the pledge, means bigger economies must phase out use of coal for electricity in the 2030s and smaller economies in the 2040s.

The movement to “consign coal to history” has not started with smooth sailing…

Last week, some of the most coal dependent nations including India, China, the US and our very own Australia did not agree to sign the pledge.

Countries that have chosen to participate include Indonesia, South Korea, Vietnam, Chile and Poland.

Despite the federal governement’s unwillingness to sign the pledge, saying they “won’t wipe out industries”, the ACT became the first Australian jurastiction to sign the statement on Friday.

This means the ACT committed to developing more clean power generation and energy efficiency measures; must adopt technologies and policies that will help the world move away from coal power in the 2040’s; they are required to attempt stoping all coal-fired power generation projects and permits, end goverment support for coal power and help industry workers, sectors and communities move away from coal.

Coal is the single largest contributor to human driven climate change. Approximately 46 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions globally are made from the burning of coal.

In positive news, the use of coal is reported to be on the way out. In the past 6 years there has been a 76 percent drop in the number of new coal plants being planned.

The UK government is at the forefront of the new pledge, revealing they wish to make the phasing out of coal a central purpose of their COP Presidency.

“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,” Kwasi Kwarteng, the UK Business & Energy Secretary, said in a statement.

Not all UK politicians are convinced of the new pledge, claiming it is not ambitious enough, filled with loopholes and is too vague.

Greenpeace has also spoken out criticising the commitments.

According to the BBC, Juan Pablo Osornio, head of Greenpeace’s delegation at COP26, said: “Overall this statement still falls well short of the ambition needed on fossil fuels in this critical decade.”