Countries That Don’t Use Much Coal Sign A Pledge To Ban It

REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

A group of 20 countries pledged to phase out coal-fired electricity in the next 13 years, but absent are the world’s major coal consumers, including China, India and the U.S.

Germany is also absent from the group despite its efforts to become a leader in green energy production.

No country ranking among the world’s top 10 coal consumers has signed on.

The Powering Past Coal coalition was announced at the United Nations climate summit in Bonn, Germany. The group aims to cut global greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired electricity, which emit 40 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. The group wants to meet the goals laid out in the Paris climate accord.

Countries in the coalition are committed to phase out coal, share emissions-cutting technology and convince other countries to join. Organizers hope to have 50 countries by the next UN summit in 2018.

“To meet the Paris Agreement target of staying below 2 degrees, we need to phase out coal,” Canadian Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna told reporters at the group’s launch event on Thursday.

Reuters reported the coalition included “Angola, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, El Salvador, Fiji, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Portugal and Switzerland.”

Two U.S. states, Oregon and Washington, and five Canadian provinces also joined the coalition.

However, the coalition only includes one country that breaks the top 20 rankings for coal consumption: Canada.

Canada only gets about 10 percent of its electricity from coal generation in 2014, according to official statistics. Though three of Canada’s 13 provinces are heavily reliant on coal-fired power.

The U.K. is the next highest coal consumer that’s in the anti-coal coalition at rank 21, according to Energy Administration Administration rankings.

The UK has shut down coal mines and power plants in recent years, which brought coal-fired electricity generation from 22 percent in 2015 to just 9 percent in 2016, official statistics show.

Global coal consumption has fallen in recent years due to environmental policies to phase out the fossil fuel and promote green energy. Natural gas has also supplanted coal in the U.S. and other countries thanks to hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.

The world got 27 percent of its energy from coal in 2015, according to EIA data, but that’s expected to fall to just 22 percent in 2040. Though China and India are expected to increase their coal consumption in the coming years.

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